Between "Playing Doctor," "Work-Life-Balance," and "Highend-Medicine": Do Young Doctors Challenge "Hegemonic Masculinity" in the Field of Medicine?

Katharina Rothe, Johannes Deutschbein, Carsten Wonneberger, Dorothee Alfermann


In this contribution we discuss the question of whether the so-called "feminization" of medicine challenges persisting power structures in the field. The notion of the "feminization of medicine" implies both the "masculinity" of the field and its change due to the increasing number of female medical doctors. We present the comparative analysis of two group discussions from the longitudinal study "Career Paths and Career Breaks of Medical Doctors During Residency" (KarMed).  One discussion was held with women, one discussion with men, all of whom had just completed their medical studies. In both discussions the theme of gender came up manifestly in the discursive context of the so-called "feminization of medicine." The discussants contrasted this "feminization" with the mythologically laden "masculinity" of surgery. The material of our group discussions indicates a persistent masculine norm in the perception of both female and male doctors. Despite all differences between their members, the group of men constituted itself as a group of medical doctors representing the masculine norm. The group of women constituted itself through shared identifications as "women in medicine." We analyzed the material with psychoanalytic methods in social research and we discuss our interpretations in relation to the notions of "feminization" and of "hegemonic masculinity."



medicine; gender; motherhood; feminization; hegemonic masculinity; group discussions; psychoanalytic social research


Copyright (c) 2015 Katharina Rothe

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