Making sense of modern medical careers: The case of the UK's national health service

Sharon C. Bolton, Daniel Muzio, Carol Boyd-Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ongoing debate on the re-articulation of the relationship between professions, the market and the state, pays increasing attention to the issue of professional identities and how these are reframed through processes such as socialization and training. The UK government's Modernising Medical Careers programme (MMC), which introduces significant revisions to the structure, content and delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate doctor training, represents a recent example of an interruption of such processes within public sector professions. MMC strikes at the very heart of the medical profession by demystifying the process of forming, socializing and initiating new generations of professionals, and shifting the control over the processes and conditions of professional closure away from the profession itself. The article draws on the methodological and conceptual lens provided by Wright Mills' 'Vocabularies of motive' (1940) to analyse medics' reactions to recent reforms in medical education. © The Author(s) 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-699
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • doctors
  • modernizing medical careers
  • sociology of the professions
  • Tooke Report
  • training
  • vocabularies of motive


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