Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
A broad literature on professional socialization largely fails to account for common sets of experiences shared by all entrants to a given profession. In the patiicular case of medicine, a prolonged period of learning, aspiration and initiation is likely to precede recruitment to formal professional education. Employing symbolic interactionist theory and taking an ethnographic approach to understand the experiences and activities of premedical students, this thesis has sought to examine and analyze the pre-medical subculture and its socializing affects. Specifically, subculture is conceived of as both a product and agent of socialization. Information pertaining to the investment in and outcomes of participation in this subculture constituted the main focus of this thesis. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with students from the Health Sciences, Arts and Science, and Microbiology programs at McMaster University.
Findings from this thesis reveal that premedical subculture is socially constructed primarily through small-group interaction in local settings. This is done in response to students' need to master the curriculum and medical school applications while developing a convincing self-image toward legitimators and peers. The pre-medical subculture is found to serve the normative function of a subculture in the interactionist conception, namely providing solutions to collective challenges of adjustment However, this subculture also uniquely generates additional confounding challenges of adjustment which individual participants must negotiate. A number of other theoretical and substantive findings, as well as recommendations for future research, are presented.
Shack, Avram Raphael, "Chasing Acceptance: Socialization and Pre-medical Student Subculture" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4434.
McMaster University Library