Few outsiders realize that student illness is frequently, and ironically, a by-product of medical training. This unique study by a medical doctor and trained anthropologist debunks popular myths of expertise and authority which surround the medical establishment and asks provoking questions about the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge within the field. In detailing all levels of basic training in a London medical school, the author describes students' 'official' activities (that is, what they need to do to qualify) as well as their 'unofficial' ones (such as their social life in the bar). This insider's exposé should prompt a serious reconsideration of abuses in a profession which has a critical influence over untold lives. In particular, it suggests that the structures and discourses of power need to be re-examined in order to provide satisfactory answers to sensitive questions relating to gender and race, the dialogue between doctor and patient and the mental stability of students under severe stress.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction 2 Deriving Medical Dispositions 3 Dispositions and the Profession Historically 4 Medical Status: Getting into Medical School 5 Co-operation: Segregation, Teams and the Stage 6 Knowledge: Writing, Sight and the Self 7 Strange Meeting: The Dissecting Room 8 Experience: Patients and Ward Rounds 9 Responsibility: Ownership and Action at Last 10 The Medical Habitus and Mental Illness 11 Concluding Remarks
Simon Sinclair University of Durham