Medical students’ educational strategies in an environment of prestige hierarchies of specialties and diseases

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Abstract

Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, this paper aims to understand whether and how a reproduction of the status hierarchy of medical specialties and diagnoses occurs within a medical school in a North European context as well as students’ educational strategies given the hierarchy. We report data from a cross-sectional survey conducted on a sample of Danish medical students. The 289 respondents ranked diseases and specialities, based on how they believed most health personnel would rank them. In addition, 18 in-depth interviews with medical students were conducted. Comparing the ranking responses of early, mid and late phase students, the analysis tracks the gradual convergence and broad agreement around a hierarchy. The paper concludes that medical school is a highly competitive field of higher education, where distinction is invested in and reproduced by curricular knowledge. This distinction is reinforced within wider structural elements such as governmental educational policies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
ISSN0142-5692
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

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prestige
medical student
Disease
educational policy
school
ranking
personnel
student
interview
health
education

Keywords

  • Higher Education
  • Medical education
  • Prestige
  • Bourdieu
  • Reproduction
  • Socialisation

Cite this

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title = "Medical students’ educational strategies in an environment of prestige hierarchies of specialties and diseases",
abstract = "Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, this paper aims to understand whether and how a reproduction of the status hierarchy of medical specialties and diagnoses occurs within a medical school in a North European context as well as students’ educational strategies given the hierarchy. We report data from a cross-sectional survey conducted on a sample of Danish medical students. The 289 respondents ranked diseases and specialities, based on how they believed most health personnel would rank them. In addition, 18 in-depth interviews with medical students were conducted. Comparing the ranking responses of early, mid and late phase students, the analysis tracks the gradual convergence and broad agreement around a hierarchy. The paper concludes that medical school is a highly competitive field of higher education, where distinction is invested in and reproduced by curricular knowledge. This distinction is reinforced within wider structural elements such as governmental educational policies.",
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AB - Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, this paper aims to understand whether and how a reproduction of the status hierarchy of medical specialties and diagnoses occurs within a medical school in a North European context as well as students’ educational strategies given the hierarchy. We report data from a cross-sectional survey conducted on a sample of Danish medical students. The 289 respondents ranked diseases and specialities, based on how they believed most health personnel would rank them. In addition, 18 in-depth interviews with medical students were conducted. Comparing the ranking responses of early, mid and late phase students, the analysis tracks the gradual convergence and broad agreement around a hierarchy. The paper concludes that medical school is a highly competitive field of higher education, where distinction is invested in and reproduced by curricular knowledge. This distinction is reinforced within wider structural elements such as governmental educational policies.

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