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The Field of Social Regulation: How the State Creates a Profession

  • Kerstin Svensson
  • Karsten Åström
Publishing year: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 1-16
Publication/Series: Professions and Professionalism
Volume: 3
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus

Abstract english

This article describes the process of professionalisation in the field of social control in Sweden. The aim is to analyse how the state by legislation created the profession of social workers for local social services and thus for social control by public administration. We show how organisations for social work have developed and played an important role since the 19th century and that social investigation should be seen as a hub for the practice. The work now mediated though professional organisations was initially performed by volunteers. In the early 20th century, volunteers and employed social workers cooperated, where social investigation was a central task for social workers. In the 1960s and ‘70s, more social workers were educated, the importance of social investigation was highlighted, and volunteers became subordinated to paid social workers. The legal professions have throughout the process had a role in making decisions, but not in the performance of investigating or executing procedures.


  • Social Work
  • Law and Society


  • ISSN: 1893-1049
Kerstin Svensson
E-mail: kerstin [dot] svensson [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se


School of Social Work

+46 46 222 04 61


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Lund University
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