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Navigating otherness and belonging: A comparative case study of IMGs’ professional integration in Canada and Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3565-7569
2015 (English)In: Ephemera : Theory and Politics in Organization, ISSN 2052-1499, E-ISSN 1473-2866, Vol. 15, no 4, 773-795 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the othering processes and feelings of belonging among international medical graduates (IMGs) who seek to practise medicine in Canada and Sweden. Building on the theoretical literature on othering, belonging, and the conceptualisation of status dilemmas, we explore how IMGs in Canada and Sweden negotiate their professional identity, how they cope with being othered and how they establish a path to belonging. Analysing qualitative interviews with 15 Swedish and 67 Canadian immigrant physicians, who are either practising medicine or are in the process of professional integration, we demonstrate that the construction of professional identity among IMGs necessitates constant comparison between the differences and similarities among ‘us’ – immigrant physicians, and ‘them’ – local doctors. In this process, one’s ethnicity, gender, and professional status are intertwined with the experience of being seen as ‘the Other’. We also show that in negotiating their professional status, IMGs actively interpret the meaning of being a Canadian/Swedish physician. We conclude that feelings of belonging to a professional group (Canadian or Swedish) do not seem to be static but rather fluid, ephemeral and changing, depending on the context. Our analysis suggests that more attention should be paid to the social context in which experiences of processes of being othered and feeling belonging are being constructed and interpreted by people themselves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 15, no 4, 773-795 p.
Keyword [en]
Belonging, Canada, international medical graduates, othering, professional integration, Sweden
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology; Social Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127501OAI: diva2:909455
The 'Other' doctor: boundary work within the Swedish medical profession
Available from: 2016-03-07 Created: 2016-03-07 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Salmonsson, Lisa
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