Lunchtime seminar – 17th November: Kieran Fitzpatrick (University of Oxford)

Kieran Fitzpatrick

Careering through India: Irish surgeons and their careers in India, 1870-1900

In her book titled The Rise of Professionalism published in 1977, the sociologist of professions and professionalization, M.S. Larson, declared that ‘Some professions developed in aristocratic societies, some in democratic ones, still others under corporate capitalism and bureaucracy. The course of professionalization varies in each regime.’ She was right: professionals, their institutions, and the professional processes they produce and are party to, vary according to the social and political regime of which they are a part, although empirical studies launch from this perspective have remained in short supply to date. In addition, although Larson referenced democracy, aristocracy and capitalism, what about imperialism?

How did imperialism impact upon the medical professionals employed by its institutions of government in India? This paper is a precis of the third chapter of my doctoral work, designed to show the ways in which imperialism (as an idea, mode of governance and form of social organization) shaped the career prospects and professional effectiveness of those medical practitioners who worked for the Government of India as members of the Indian Medical Service between c. 1870-1900.

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