Identity, Gender, and Tracking: The Reality of Boundaries for Veterinary Students

by Jenny R. Vermilya, Published: 2022, FileType: PDF

Identity, Gender, and Tracking

Identity, Gender, and Tracking, Using in-depth interviews with veterinary students, Identity, Gender, and Tracking: The Reality of Boundaries for Veterinary Students explores the experience of enrollment in an educational program that tracks students based on the species of animals that they wish to treat. The identity of a veterinarian is one characterized by care; thus, students have to construct different definitions of care, creating a system of power and inequality. Tracking produces multiple boundaries for veterinary students, which has consequences not just for the veterinarian, but also for the treatment of animals. Written for administrators and students alike, Identity, Gender, and Tracking sheds light on how and why veterinary students construct their identities and end up in certain specializations. Animal Reproduction in Veterinary Medicine

Through detailed ethnographic research and interviews, Jenny R. Vermilya examines the veterinary schools’ system of specialties or ‘tracks’ that focus on companion animals on one hand and production animals (those used for food) on the other. Her skillful analysis reveals how the tracking system influences veterinary students’ views of animals and what constitutes appropriate treatment. Through engaging examples, the tracking system becomes a window onto how societies organize and legitimize knowledge about animals, as well as how professions lay claim to systems of knowledge and expertise.

With a wealth of data from in-depth interviews and observations, Jenny Vermilya’s insightful book reveals how species and specialization play a role in the boundary work of veterinary students. Vermilya demonstrates how the different tracks in veterinary school define professional identities and careers, as she explains how our social constructions of different species, gender, and what it means to be a veterinarian have changed over time. The clear prose and cogent explanations make this book of interest to sociologists and veterinarians.

Identity, Gender, and Tracking offers a sociological perspective on the impact of tracking in modern veterinary education. Jenny Vermilya’s insightful analysis of the ‘small animal’ versus ‘large animal’ dichotomy in veterinary schools raises a host of issues that transcend veterinary education—for example, the ‘care-killing paradox,’ how the blurring of boundaries caused the horse slaughterhouse controversy, the emphases on caring for herds versus individual animals, treating animals as pets or products, and the feminization of the veterinary profession. Based on four years of fieldwork, Vermilya’s book brilliantly explores our conflicted and complex attitudes toward other species.

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