9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN19 Sociology of Professions

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Rethinking Social Inequalities and Professions: Gender, Ethnicity and Class Building I, Auditório 2

Negotiations on intra-professional relations - Cultural categorizations, segmentation and hierarchies

The recruitment crisis of health care professionals, concerning particularly registered nurses, is currently of great concern in many European countries. In this situation, a lot of hope and effort has been placed on reinforcing the international migration of health care professionals. The globalization of labor challenges the professional groups, inherently embedded in national and societal contexts, to negotiate and redefine the social and cultural orders and boundaries within them. The construction and negotiation of the social orders is centrally marked by cultural categorizations which operate at different levels of professional structures, interaction and identities. Cultural categories, like ethnicities and gender, are social constructions and situationally negotiated. The perspective of cultural categorizations brings to the fore the significance of binary thought, which locks us into hierarchical relations that value some kinds of qualities and minimize others.

In this presentation I approach the question of cultural negotiations on intra-professional relations from the perspective of migrant nurses. How are the professional centers and margins, hierarchies and differences negotiated in the professional practices? What do the intra-professional divisions and categorizations mean for the professional attachment and identity of migrant professionals? I put particular emphasis on agency and contextuality of the negotiations. Through the empirical examples of migrant nurses? own experiences in the Finnish health care system I suggest, that when examining the intra-professional negotiations it is central to understand the ways how cultural categorizations and meaning-makings of difference structure the relations and signify the intra-professional relations of power and status. However, being socially constructed, the categorizations are also open for negotiations and redefinitions.