This study examines the role of occupational status in the racialization of Indian physicians in Southern California. Since the liberalization of U.S. immigration policy in 1965, the number of first and second-generation Indian doctors in the U.S. has grown to nearly seven percent of the nation's physician workforce; however, Indians constitute less than one percent of the total U.S. population. Overrepresented in one of America's most prestigious professions, Indians are more visible in U.S. medicine than in the U.S. at large.
Previous scholarship in immigration research, Asian American Studies, and the sociology of occupations has paid little attention to these professional non-white immigrants and their racial experience in the U.S. Asian American Studies in particular has focused primarily on the racial-ethnic identity formation of economically disadvantaged non-white groups, under the assumption that professional Asian Americans’ class status and occupations in the sciences effectively shield them from racist harm and preclude their engagement in racial politics.
This research shows that Indian doctors’ high occupational status and class privilege provide them only partial, situational protection from racism. They have what I call occupational citizenship—access to most of the same rights and privileges as whites only when perceived as being both professionally successful and economically beneficial to the U.S. They are clearly marked as occupational citizens during clinical interactions with patients, when they are in the white coat. But outside of this context, they are subject to racist treatment from colleagues, staff, health care institutions, and the general public. The particular forms of racism these doctors face, as well as how they interpret this racism, have as much to do with their gender, immigrant generation, and perception of others’ race and class, as with their own professional class status.
These findings are based on fifty-two interviews with first and second generation Indian doctors in Southern California as well as participant observation at the monthly meetings of two regional Indian medical associations. I also observed seven Indian doctors at work, noting their interactions with patients, staff, and colleagues. Southern California represents an ideal case for understanding the racial formation of Indian physicians in the U.S. because of its large but dispersed population of established Indian physicians, and its overall diversity of race, ethnicity, and class.
|Advisor:||Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette, Iwamura, Jane N.|
|Commitee:||Jaikumar, Priya, Saito, Leland T.|
|School:||University of Southern California|
|Department:||American Studies and Ethnicity|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Asian American Studies, Labor relations, Ethnic studies|
|Keywords:||Asian Indian, California, Gender, Occupation, Physicians, Race, Southern California|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be