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Stigma and the Journey of Extreme Social Mobility: Notes on the Management of Discreditable Identities in a High Status University Degree

  • Erica Southgate
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Explorations in Workplace Stigma book series (PAEWS)

Abstract

Despite significant policy efforts to widen participation, non-traditional students continue to be under-represented in high status university degrees such as medicine. Although this issue is both global and intransigent, relatively little is known about the journeys of non-traditional students who do succeed in gaining access to high status degrees and their associated professions. Theirs is a unique story of extreme social mobility, where students move from humble family of origin into university and the elite organisational contexts of medical education and associated clinical settings. This chapter draws on a qualitative study of first-in-family medical students to explore their experience of extreme social mobility and the overt and subtle forms of stigma they face. Using Goffman’s notion of discreditable identity, the chapter provides a fine grained account of how students negotiate and resist stigma to tactically incorporate aspects of their working-class or cultural selves into emerging professional identities.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Southgate
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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