Correlates of Prestige Grading in Medical Profession

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 8:15 PM
Room: 414
Oral Presentation
Prof. C SOMASHEKHER , Sociology, Bangalore University, BANGALORE, India
Professions come to be arranged in a hierarchy based on their functional importance for the Society, which in turn determines their prestige, authority, rewards and sometimes even their autonomy.  Traditionally, professions represented homogenous groups of people sharing common traits in terms of knowledge, skills, values, status and rewards.  But of late, owing to growing complexity of professional knowledge systems, increasing specialization, adoption of advanced technology in their practice and ever increasing diversity of services expected to be delivered by these professions, intra-professional heterogeneities and as such distinctions appear to be on rise with professionals coming to be graded within professions on professional and non-professional considerations.  The paper explores these developments in medical profession in India, wherein medicine as a profession has made significant advances.  A survey of 550 medical professionals in South India reveals that medical profession is a highly stratified entity with practitioners being segregated and graded on the lines of specialization, level of specialization, branch of medical practice, sector of employment, size and technical sophistication of hospital, institution from where professional credentials are obtained, length of practice and the like with   rewards and recognition in  commensuration, giving rise to inequities and exclusions within medical profession. Further, non-professional variables such as class, caste, religion and gender, by themselves, are not as much responsible as the professional variables stated above for observed exclusions and inequities in medical profession although they appear to be associated with opportunities for entering into high prestige sections within medical profession.