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Symbolic power and professional titles: the case of “podiatric surgeon”

By Alan M Borthwick, Rosalie A Boyce and Susan Nancarrow


Interprofessional conflict has largely been understood in terms of jurisdictional disputes centred on contested task domains and role boundaries, with less attention paid to the symbolic value associated with specific professional titles. Bourdieu\u27s concepts of symbolic power and capital help to shed light on the opposition of the medical profession in the UK to the adoption of the title “podiatric surgeon” by non-medically qualified podiatrists undertaking foot surgery. Focusing on the medical discourse evident in press and media coverage of the dispute over a 12-year period gives insights into the use of strategies of symbolic violence aimed at retaining control over the exclusive use of prestigious forms of professional title. Titles, as symbolic capital, are understood as central to professions’ struggle for legitimacy and recognition

Topics: professions, professional title, podiatric surgeon, symbolic power, symbolic capital, Medicine and Health Sciences
Publisher: ePublications@SCU
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1080/14461242.2015.1051081
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Provided by: ePublications@SCU
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