cover of book

Becoming Gods: Medical Training in Mexican Hospitals
by Vania Smith-Oka
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-1-9788-1966-5 | Paper: 978-1-9788-1965-8 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-1969-6

Becoming Gods is about transformation—of medical students into medical selves. In this book, anthropologist Vania Smith-Oka provides a close-up of the lives of doctors and trainees behind the scenes, bringing the reader into spaces not usually accessible to the public. Through rich ethnographic narrative, the book examines how a cohort of doctors-in-training in the Mexican city of Puebla learn to become doctors. Smith-Oka draws from compelling fieldwork, ethnography, and interviews with interns, residents, and doctors that tell the story of how medical trainees learn to wield new tools, language, and technology and how their white coat, stethoscope, and newfound technical, linguistic, and sensory skills lend them an authority that they cultivate with each practice, transforming their sense of self. Becoming Gods illustrates the messy, complex, and nuanced nature of medical training, where trainees not only have to acquire a monumental number of skills but do so against a backdrop of strict hospital hierarchy and a crumbling national medical system that deeply shape who they are.
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