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Issues » 2017/4 - ERIS Journal - Summer 2017 »

Lenka Divoká

Professionalization of Child Protection in the Czech Republic from the Perspective of Sociological Theories


This article is an excerpt from the author’s doctoral thesis The Social Work Profession in the Czech Republic completed in 2016. The thesis was based on an empirical research of social work studied from the perspective of the sociology of the professions. Social work has been described as a semiprofession by many authors and social workers often feel they are viewed as second-rate professionals. The research examined such views, using a conceptual framework which combines elements of neo-Weberian, neo-institutional and traits theories. There were two main research questions: how do social workers describe the current state of their profession, and how do they describe the pathways to enhanced professionalisation? The design of the research was a case study focusing on the field of child protection. The results showed that social work in the Czech Republic has not accomplished the autonomy of the established professions. Nevertheless, the profession has acquired some important advantages in the labour market, including a degree of market closure as described in the neo-Weberian theory of professionalisation. Contrary to the general perspective of the authors in the sociology of social work, social work in the Czech Republic was found to be a fast-developing and flexible profession responsive to current conditions.


Czech Republic, neo-Weberian theory, neo-institutional theory, professions, social work, traits theory

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