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Contesting Horses: Borders and Shifting Social Meanings in Veterinary Medical Education

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Abstract Within veterinary medical education, tracking systems exist that differentiate between “large” and “small” animal medicine. In a tracking system, students can focus primarily on their choice of animal medicine once they have completed the core curriculum. This article argues that these socially created categories are ever shifting; therefore, some species do not always “fit.” This generates new discourses surrounding emerging “border tracks”; these “tracks” focus on species whose social definitions change so that their placement in the tracking system of veterinary medical education is a site of contestation. Thus, animal medicine operates not solely on the basis of biology, but on the basis of social meaning as well. This analysis will use the equine concentration to demonstrate the ambiguity of borders, as well as their potential to serve as communicative sites for social change.

Affiliations: 1: University of Colorado at Boulder


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