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Title: Power to the Profession: A Study of a Professional Association's Exercise of Power Over Tertiary Education
Contributor(s): Osburn, Lynelle (author); Meek, Lynn (supervisor); Harman, Kay  (supervisor); Jones, David (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2000
Copyright Date: 1999
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: In Australia, both social workers and social welfare workers work with the same clientele; have almost identical competencies; have codes of ethics; are grounded in the same knowledge base and use the same skills and techniques. Social welfare workers in Australia can only become social workers if they complete a course accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). However, the community and many employers do not discriminate between the two groups of workers. There is no registration for social workers in Australia and it is unlikely that it will occur. Since 1942, the AASW has been active in discussions with tertiary educational institutions, state and federal governments and non-government sector employers to ensure what they believed to be appropriate standards of social work education, allowing portability of the qualification. This is a case study of the nature of professions and their interactions with tertiary institutions. It is about how they do what they do and what academics and tertiary institutions need to consider in their interactions with professional associations. The study is less about the AASW or social welfare education in Australia than it is about professions, power and influencing tertiary education. Four forms of analysis are used: empirical history; an analysis of the arguments used within documents and utterances of the AASW; a three dimensional analysis of power; and the field of interaction is examined as depicted by Pierre Bourdieu. This methodology achieves the requirements of theoretical triangulation. Using the AASW as a case, the thesis results in a re-examination of the nature of power. It finds that power exists between the structures and between the relationships in any field of interaction. It also proposes that power not only rests in the resources or capital (economic, symbolic and cultural) identified by Bourdieu; it seems to also rest in relationships, not for their instrumental worth (to get access to other forms of capital) but intrinsically.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 1999 - Lynelle Osburn
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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