Danish political, educational and occupational discourse is dominated by one single concept; "faglighed': Today it is difficult to imagine a time when faglighed was not used to refer to an amalgam of subject knowledge, expertise and professional knowledge work. But before the 1980's the concept was virtually nonexistent. In this article we seek to challenge self-evident assumptions and uses of the concept, by tracing its historical spread from Danish educational policy struggles in the 1980s to virtually all politico-administrative domains in the 2000s. We discuss how the concept is used across, educational, professional, and political research areas. On this basis we characterize it as a "floating signifier" which on the one hand is anchored in its reference to some set of skills and competencies, but simultaneously maximizes its usefulness by being able to incorporate all, and often undefined forms of educational or occupational collectives. "Faglighed" should therefore be seen as a unique alternative to professionalism or expertise, which reflects the partial repeal of the status and authority previously associated with individuals' or groups' possession of certain knowledge claims. Ironically, the terrn's implied 'stability' hides the destabilization that characterizes its period of emergence, and the disagreements that persists around the skills, principles, and competences necessary for the future, and their valuation.
|Translated title of the contribution
|The Birth of "Faglighed": The History behind a National Concept of Professionalism and Its Success in Danish Educational, Labor and Administrative Politics
|Økonomi og Politik
|Number of pages
|Published - 2023