Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Veterinary expertise
Author: Armstrong, Justin Lashwood
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 2770
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis is about veterinary expertise, with a focus on the farm/large animal sector. It explores how vets and the profession express expertise beyond medical knowledges and technical competencies. Drawing from rich, detailed ethnographic case studies of UK vets working in the rural sector in a variety of roles (e.g. private practice, government, education) the thesis offers new understandings of professional expertise and Aesculapian authority – the most powerful authority awarded by society to those who heal. The main argument is that veterinary expertise cannot be easily defined or compartmentalised as it is fluid and at times contested and means different things to different people at different times and places. Furthermore, in analysing veterinary expertise I found it necessary to understand the relationship between veterinarians‟ notions of general practice and specialisation. Through historical and empirical evidence my research has found two main reasons to explain why veterinary specialisation appears to be underdeveloped. First, at the professional level, veterinarians strongly assert the primacy of general practice and contest the notion of veterinary specialisation as divisive. Second, at the individual level, many veterinarians work in very defined areas of practice that may be considered to be specialised. Yet they maintain they are still general practitioners. In light of these contradictions my thesis suggests that veterinarians should be conceptualised as „poly-specialists‟. Theoretically the thesis develops the notion of veterinary Aesculapian authority and Goffman‟s „dramaturgical perspective‟ to understand the veterinary „performance‟. The thesis argues that the authority and power of the individual and profession is one aspect of veterinary expertise but also the ways in which vets interact in different physical settings (the performance in front and back stage settings) is important. Exploring the veterinary performance reveals the fluid nature of their expertise as it varies according to the physical setting, is related to personal characteristics and the way they construct, maintain and express their Aesculapian authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC ; DEFRA
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available