Swedish School Reforms and Teacher Professionalism

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The education policy of the last few decades has significantly changed the Swedish school system. Municipalization and deregulation reforms were implemented in parallel with an internationally prescribed professionalization of teachers. This seemingly contradictory combination has reshaped not only teachers’ attitudes and actions but also those of principals and students as managers and consumers. In light of these changes, the professionalization of teachers and the strategic importance of a teacher-specific knowledge base, multi-year academic training, certification and career steps are analysed. Based on Freidson's three competing work organization and control logics, this article focuses on how the mix of logics has changed at the expense of professionalism in favour of bureaucracy and the market. The professionalization reforms have in some respects benefited teachers, especially with regard to their positions in the labour market. In other respects, the actions of managers and consumers have resulted in restrictions on teachers' autonomy as professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-78
Number of pages40
JournalProfessions and Professionalism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 16

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Pedagogy


  • teacher
  • professionalization
  • knowledge base
  • certification
  • career steps
  • work organisation
  • control logics


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