Intended for healthcare professionals


Boys in White: Student Culture in Medical School

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 28 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:721
  1. Thomas Laqueur, professor of history.
  1. University of California, USA

    Blanche Geer, Everett C Hughes, Anselm Strauss, Howard Saul Becker

    Transaction, $29.95/£23.50, pp 456

    ISBN 0878556222

    This book describes the pioneering 1961 study by Howard Becker and his colleagues of how “boys in white”—medical students—become doctors. It remains a remarkable ethnographic study of how these young men at the University of Kansas lived: their schedules, their efforts to find out what professors wanted from them in tests and exercises, their “latent culture” (the division into alphas and betas, fraternity and non-fraternity men); their slow assimilation of medical values through peer pressure and example; their learning how to negotiate a hospital or clinic in all its complexity; and their perspectives on their …

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