Living on a knife's edge: Temporal conflicts in welfare service work
Hirvonen, H., & Husso, M. (2012). Living on a knife's edge: Temporal conflicts in welfare service work. Time & Society, 21 (3), 351-370. doi:10.1177/0961463X12454382
Published inTime & Society
© Sage. This is an author's final draft version of an article whose final and definitive version has been published in the journal 'Time & Society' by Sage.
This article considers the temporal variations of social and health care workers’ agency from the point of view of the social structures and practices of the contemporary Finnish public service sector. It finds that the contemporary Finnish public sector increasingly operates according to market principles and economic framing of time, contrary to the relational understanding of time in care practices. To maintain their sense of self as skilled professionals, workers actively reassess and adjust their identities according to the exigencies of the contemporary working life, but not without difficulties. The results of the interview study reflect the intuitive, habitual and innovative nature of temporality of care practices, but also the constraints that the contemporary, economic-rationalistic temporal frame in working life poses on welfare service work. The results suggest that the question of time management is therefore central not only from the point of view of the efficiency of service production but from the point of view of welfare service workers’ exercise of their professional agency. ...