Rural medical marriages: Understanding symbolic violence in the social practice of gender
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NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal Women's Studies International Forum. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the Journal of Women's Studies International Forum, Vol.31, (2014). DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2007.11.003
This article examines the social practice of gender amongst rural GPs and in rural medical marriages and considers Bourdieu’s notions of symbolic violence and misrecognition important elements in understanding how inequitable gender relations are sustained and reproduced. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in rural Western Australia amongst GPs and their spouses/partners I explore the notion that gender as a structural or organising principle impacts on expectations and experiences of roles in the workplace and in the home. Compliance with conventional views of male as provider and female as primary caregiver raises questions about the advantages of conformity and the costs of challenge. Nonetheless, contesting dominant ideas and practices that do not serve the interests of non-dominant groups may well cause conflict but can lead to change.
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