Who are “the Expanded Doctors”? The Ethnography of Professional Self-Identifications in Polish Primary Care

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21104/CL.2020.1.02


This article is an ethnographic exploration of the responses of doctors to the 1997 healthcare reform in Poland. Based on research carried out among practitioners working in Podstawowa Opieka Zdrowotna (POZ, “Basic Healthcare”), which was established in 1997 and opened up to the market, I demonstrate the newly emerged self-identification of doctors, which can be expressed by the term, “the expanded doctor”. Following Elizabeth Dunn’s and Asta Vonderau’s ethnographies of post-socialist reconstructions, I examine how POZ practitioners became “expanded doctors”, and what particular elements constitute this novel and liberal self-definition. Based on Eliane Riska and Aurelija Novelskaite’s description of practitioners’ experiences of transforming from a planned economy to a world composed of “four logics”, I analyse the entrepreneurial face of the doctors’ self-identification, their attachment to private ownership, and the cult of liberal capitalism.


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