But over time, as I moved through medical school and became a practicing health worker, I’ve come to see the Professional as a figure of social control, a departure from the conventional usage of lowercase “professional,” which sees a professional as just someone with a job: Class Consciousness for American Doctors – Professionalism is the ideological terrain on which medicine’s culture interacts with its class politics (The New Inquiry)
With such great rewards at stake in the idea of Professional authority, the fierce allegiance with patients implied in working-class solidarity might be seen as excessive or even disloyal to the Profession. It draws a fine line between the health worker who has a good rapport with her patients and one who doesn’t see her patients as belonging to a different class, relating to them as equals rather than patrons. Reading Starr’s argument, one might assume that Professionalism is an analysis of the class status of doctors, but that connection is rarely explicit in the everyday experience of the medical professional. Class is certainly not part of our formal education on how to be a Professional, and it only rarely comes up even in the burnout discourse. Instead of elucidating medicine’s class politics, burnout and Professionalism put our personal experiences into small, localized frames. Our predicament is different and special, we are told, and this isolates us from other workers and their struggles. Professionalism is the ideological terrain on which medicine’s culture interacts with its class politics. It is the uninspiring cultural residue left over when class solidarity is unavailable. In order to understand Professionalism, you have to understand solidarity.
posted by not_the_water (30 comments total)