Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Personal and social identity in the life stories of five nineteenth century women physicians
by Brown, Mary Daniels, Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2011, 149; 3464646
Abstract (Summary)

Between 1849 and 1920 women fought for and gradually won the right to attend medical school and to practice professionally as physicians. This study examined the life stories of five nineteenth century women physicians in search of answers to two related research questions: (1) What do the life stories of these pioneering women reveal about their sense of identity? and (2) How did these women reconcile their personal identities with strictures that were overtly hostile to their aspirations? The study applied narrative identity theory and feminist theories of autobiography in a narrative inquiry into the lives of these five women: Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910), Marie Zakrzewska (1829–1902), Amelia DeMott (1846–1927), Mary Atwater (ca. 1858–1941), and Mary Canaga Rowland (1873–1966). Comparative analysis revealed three patterns. First, creation of an acceptable social identity involved finding a balance between private and public selves. Second, all five women were concerned about generativity in relation to their place in the late nineteenth century movement for women's rights. Third, the time span covered by the life stories of these three generations of women physicians saw the emergence of a new identity model: woman physician. Discussion also addresses the process of narrative inquiry as used in this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Achterberg, Jeanne
Commitee: Jaffe, Dennis, McAllister, JoAnn
School: Saybrook University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Personal identity, Physicians, Social identity, Women doctors
Publication Number: 3464646
ISBN: 9781124810089
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