The migration and racialisation of doctors from the Indian subcontinent
This research identifies and examines the circumstances and processes surrounding the migration and racialisation of doctors from the Indian subcontinent to Britain. Theoretically the research will critically evaluate several current debates within sociology and reconstructs a different set of criteria to that which has until recently governed investigations into racism. The research argues that the concept of 'race' is an ideological construction with no analytical role to play in the investigation of racism and discrimination. The real object of analysis is the development and reproduction of racism as an ideology within specific historical and material conjunctures determined by the uneven development of capitalism. Within this context a full explanation of the migration and racialisation of doctors from the Indian subcontinent requires not only an examination of the post-war era, but also an investigation of the origins of that migration and racialisation during the pre-1945 period when India was the subject of British rule. A great deal of contemporary research on migration and racism, has tended to concentrate on unskilled and semi-skilled migrant labour. This study will focus on the neglected area of the 'professions', through an investigation of doctors from the Indian subcontinent and their relationship with the British 'professional' occupation of medicine. Through the exegesis and critique of the 'sociology of professions', the research will demonstrate that doctors from the Indian subcontinent represent a racialised fraction of the new middle class. The main question surrounding the analysis of the relationship between Indian doctors and the British 'professional' occupation of medicine as 'gatekeepers' of the occupation, will focus on the relationship between professionalism and racism. The research will contend that the content of professionalism does not merely define certain occupations as 'professions', but more importantly, professionalism like racism is an ideology. Professionalism not only operates to justify and legitimate the supposed special status of medicine, but it also reinforces racist exclusionary practices in a 'sanitised' form within the occupation. This provides the research with the rare opportunity of analysing the nature and content of two ideologies operating within the same arena: the relationship between racism and professionalism. This will illustrate that the racism which black migrant 'professional' labour is subject to, does not only operate in a functional way for capitalism in providing labour for the less desirable specialisms of medicine, but also operates through the mediation of the occupation of medicine to help reproduce the 'professional status' of the occupation.