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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalProfessions and Professionalism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work
  • Law and Society


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