Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Negotiating new roles, new moralities: Ukrainian women physicians at a post-socialist crossroad
by Bazylevych, Maryna Yevgenivna, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2010, 320; 3412719
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation discusses concepts of professionalism and morality as seen by women physicians in post-socialist Ukraine. As in many other post-socialist societies, Ukrainian women constitute the majority of the medical profession (over 70% of practicing physicians and 80% of medical students). Most of the existing literature explains this narrowly in materialist terms whereby low salary is viewed as determinant of low prestige and thus unattractiveness to men. I suggest that prestige is defined much broader in the local context. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Central and Western Ukraine (2007-2008), I argue that the meanings of prestige carry both socialist and post-socialist rhetoric that create hybrid professional identities. Physicians actively negotiate their socialist upbringing and biomedical training with new venues for income (private clinics, pharmaceutical companies) and changing ideology of informal monetary exchanges. These biomedical developments reflect the broader situation of flux in post-socialist Ukraine, and significantly add to the professional repertoires of the biomedical professionals. I argue that female prevalence in the biomedical field offers a door to understanding complex transformative social processes where moral codes are being actively re-negotiated. I discuss the ways in which the continuities with the socialist past are expressed and how women are crafting new professional identities. Through a focus on marketization in the medical system that gives rise to new venues for income, this study investigates how women physicians use their cultural and social capital in new circumstances and how they negotiate changing ideas about professional respect, income, gender roles and moral obligation. What does it mean to be a good physician in post-socialist society today, and what does make women more likely candidates?

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Landsman, Gail H.
Commitee: Andaya, Elise L., Jarvenpa, Robert W., Phillips, Sarah D.
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Forensic anthropology, Gender studies
Keywords: Gender, Health care professionals, Morality, Post-socialism, Social change, Ukraine
Publication Number: 3412719
ISBN: 978-1-124-11985-4
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