Irish medical student culture and the performance of masculinity, c.1880-1930

Kelly, Laura (2016) Irish medical student culture and the performance of masculinity, c.1880-1930. History of Education. ISSN 0046-760X (

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In recent years, there have been valuable studies of medical education that have highlighted the importance of shared educational activities and the changing image of the student. Less attention has been paid to how masculine ideals were passed on to students and how educational and extra-curricular spheres became sites for the maintenance of hegemonic masculinity. Taking Irish medical schools as a case study and drawing on the student press, doctors’ memoirs and novels, this article will illustrate how rites of passage in medical education and social activities such as pranks and rugby became imbued with masculine tropes. In this way, the transformation of student to practitioner was often symbolised as the transformation of boy to man. The cultivation of the image of the medical student as a predominantly male individual became an important force in segregating men and women students and helped to preserve Irish medicine as a largely masculine sphere.