Genealogies of affect among a young veterinarian's public letter : an exploratory study of hidden curricula in a college of veterinary medicine
Contemporary research in veterinary medical education indicates alarming rates of depression and anxiety among veterinary students. Yet, the focus of this scholarship is primarily on mental illness as effects of a social and relational process, rather than interrogating the affectual nature of the process. Medical education has a long history of interrogating various facets of socialization as largely embedded in the hidden curricula--the tacit culture of a social entity, and repository for values and norms of conduct. Unfortunately, scant scholarship explores the hidden curricula of veterinary medicine. Recently, an anonymous letter signed Young Veterinarian was published on a public website, and opened an electronic dialogue regarding the nature of affects imbedded in professional socialization. Many themes of the letter referred to issues imbedded in the literature. This study followed this online dialogue, and initiated one in a College of Veterinary Medicine. Centering this letter, object-focused interviews were conducted to explore how members of this community are affected by the anonymous letter. Analytical insights suggest three broad areas of affects related to the hidden curricula: Onto-epistemic tensions; affective neutrality; and freedom, debt, and hopelessness. Implications for research and professional practice/curricula are discussed and deliberated.
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