The large number of international medical graduates (IMGs) working in Australia, and many other countries around the world, has received significant attention from the media, governments and academia. These institutions utilise a number of classificatory schemes in order to categorise IMGs. Such classification is often stigmatising, yet goes largely unquestioned. In this paper I show that the 'official naming' of IMGs in Australia, as well as the naming of IMGs by staff in hospitals, is historically, politically and socially produced. Following Bourdieu's call to also study how the classified classify, the paper goes on to examine ways in which IMGs name and categorise each other, drawing on ethnographic research. I argue that IMGs use classification themselves, strategically, in order to modify their marginalised position within the 'social space' of the hospital. The article questions taken-for-granted assumptions about classified groups such as IMGs and leaves an opening for change.
- international medical graduates
- medical profession
- workforce issues