Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Southern Communication Journal 67:1 (Fall 2001), pp. 66–83

doi: 10.1080/10417940109373219


Copyright © 2001 Southern States Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


This project brings contextual factors to the forefront of socialization research by investigating how medical ideology relates to the formation of the identities of students of osteopathic medicine. In particular, we investigate their attitudes toward, the role of communication in, and the expression of emotion in health care delivery. Through in-depth interviews with students about their vocational development experiences, we began exploring their emergent identities as future practitioners of osteopathic medicine. Three themes emerged from a constant comparative analysis of data, including (a) selecting osteopathic medicine, (b) encountering osteopathy, and (c) students’ emergent identities. These themes, and their respective subthemes, are discussed in terms of the story they tell about the role of technology, as developed and practiced through the scientific method, in the rationalization of professional identities.