The PPTA and the State: from militant professionals to bargaining agent : a study of rational opportunism

by Jesson, Jocelyn Gavin

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis using oral historiographic techniques examines the changing role and function of a teachers' union during changes in the nature of a national State which can also be related to changing forms of capitalism. The teachers' union is New Zealand Post-Primary Teachers Association (the secondary school teachers' union) and the period of particular focus is between 1983 and the beginning of 1993. This is the period of a crisis in the New Zealand State during which the character of the national State was moved from what has been described as a 'wage earners' Welfare State towards a more residual form providing a 'modest safety net'. The financial and the labour market were deregulated to become more free of direct State involvement. The administration of education was changed and the individual schools' elected Boards of Trustees were made responsible for the provision of schooling. The role of PPTA in the State is moved structurally in this time. As a professional association before the changes, PPTA had both opportunity for input into the mandate of education, as well as the possibility of creating implementation pressure through political action. As a bargaining agent, the input role of PPTA to decisions in education was limited to addressing members' concerns at the school level. The restructuring of education and of the labour market, PPTA was both an object to be acted on and a participant obstructing the changes. This thesis presents what is a PPTA view of those changes. PPTA formed a central part of the education structures which were to be transformed by the economic liberal project. The survival of PPTA demonstrates the extent to which the project was not completed and the resistance of PPTA was one of the reasons why the project in education could not be completed. The thesis is in three parts. Part one is a regulationist-derived periodisation of the historical development of the New Zealand wage earners Welfare State and education. This is followed by a consideration of the economic-liberal challenge to this State Part two considers the development of PPTA's professional project and the possibilities presented through different arenas. Part three focuses on the changing nature of the State labour market policy and PPTA's activity in that. The changing strategies and tactics of PPTA's 'professional project', the thesis argues, occur under changing political conditions and are an example of Offe's concept of rational opportunism
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Professor Roger Dale

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:fields of research 330000 education


Date of Publication:01/01/1995

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