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Conceptualising Professional Identification as Flexibility, Stability and Ambivalence

  • Rose-Marie Axelsson
  • Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren
  • Lars Owe Dahlgren
Chapter
Part of the Professional and Practice-based Learning book series (PPBL, volume 1)

Abstract

This chapter discusses physicians’ and engineers ’ professional identity formation through engagement in practice. First, the concept of professional identification as the enactment of life politics is advanced. Professional identification is here viewed as an ongoing process in the context of lifelong learning, where learners’ subjectivities and life trajectories are significant. Second, the concepts flexibility, stability and ambivalence are introduced and used dialectically as analytical tools for understanding physicians’ and engineers’ experiences of learning through their different practices. In discussing these concepts, we illustrate the conception of life-politics by means of empirical examples of how subjectivity , everyday life experiences, and conditions in different practices interplay in the process of professional identification. Third, we show how the processes of becoming an engineer or a physician stand as substantially different processes, seemingly more or less articulated and determined. Moreover, being an engineer or physician reflects additional aspects of learning through the process of identification with the professional role, including the impact of the work itself and of the personal self. In all, our findings suggest that the engineers identify with the content and nature of the work itself as a flexible strategy, thereby making the identification with the profession ambivalent. The physicians, on the other hand, seem to build a character as a doctor with which they identify permanently, thereby shaping a fragile boundary between their selves and the profession. Finally, an interpretive model is proposed, where the life-politics of the individuals is expressed through flexibility, stability, and ambivalence.

Keywords

Labour Market Lifelong Learning Professional Identity Professional Role Life Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rose-Marie Axelsson
    • 1
  • Madeleine Abrandt Dahlgren
    • 1
  • Lars Owe Dahlgren
    • 1
  1. 1.Linköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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