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The 'Other' Doctor: Boundary work within the Swedish medical profession
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Välfärd och Livslopp)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3565-7569
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about medical doctors with immigrant backgrounds who work in Sweden. Based on 15 qualitative interviews with medical doctors with immigrant backgrounds, this thesis explores the medical doctors’ feeling of professional belonging and boundary work. This thesis focuses mainly on the doctors’ experiences of being part of the Swedish medical profession while, at the same time, being regarded as ‘different’ from their Swedish medical counterparts. It starts off with the idea that medical doctors with immigrant backgrounds may have, or could be regarded as having, contradictory social positions. By virtue of being part of the Swedish medical profession, they belong to one of the most privileged groups in Swedish society. However, due to their immigrant background these doctors do not necessarily occupy a privileged position either within their profession or in society in general. This thesis shows that doctors with immigrant backgrounds feel that they are not perceived as full-fledged doctors, which seem related to how they are somewhat ‘othered'. The results show that these doctors cope with being seen as different from doctor with non-immigrant backgrounds, by using the notion of ‘migranthood’ as a resource in negotiations in everyday work life but they also do what they can to overcome the boundaries of ‘Swedishness’. Belonging should therefore be seen as having a formal and an informal side, as getting a Swedish license does not automatically mean that you feel belonging to, in this case, the Swedish medical profession. This seems to put doctors with immigrant backgrounds in a somewhat outsider within position, which seems having to do with boundaries between who is included in the ‘us’ and in the ‘them’. Lastly, these findings indicate that sociologists need to expand the understanding of professional groups to also include boundary work within these groups. In order to do so, this thesis argues that sociological theory on professional groups could be combined with sociological theory about social positions as that is one way to understand the outsider-within position that these doctors (and presumably other skilled migrants) have to cope with.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Sociology , 2014. , 188 p.
Keyword [en]
boundaries, boundary work, ethnicity, IMG, immigrant background, medical doctors, profession, negotiations, social constructionism, social position, sociology, qualitative methods
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-223490ISBN: 978-91-506-2395-6OAI: diva2:713164
Public defence
2014-06-09, IX Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-05-14 Created: 2014-04-22 Last updated: 2014-05-14

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