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A critical analysis of newspaper accounts of violence against doctors in India

Samant, Mayuri, Calnan, Michael .W., Kane, Sumit (2023) A critical analysis of newspaper accounts of violence against doctors in India. Social Science and Medicine, 340 . Article Number 116497. ISSN 0277-9536. (doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116497) (KAR id:104257)


This paper presents a critical analysis of newspaper articles (N = 60) published in a leading vernacular newspaper about violence against doctors in India. Adopting a theoretical perspective that considers ‘news as a cultural practice,’ a qualitative content analysis was conducted to examine how the phenomenon is framed and presented in the news, i.e., what is problematized, what causal links are drawn or hinted at, what moral stance is taken or alluded to, and what solutions are proffered and why, to arrive at a nuanced understanding of various aspects of this social phenomenon. Three overlapping key themes emerged from the analysis, namely the narrative of victimization, the changing doctor-patient relationship, and the crisis facing the ‘noble profession’ of medicine. It reveals how the media shapes public opinion and attitudes towards the state of the medical profession while in turn, reflecting existing opinions, attitudes, and cultural values; the analysis also reveals missing perspectives such as the voices of the patients and the public. We highlight how the findings are not merely the dominant ways in which the rise in incidents of violence against doctors is reported and is understood in society, but how media might have shaped the popular discourse around the issue and why. We reflect on what the reportage says about the state of the medical profession and its standing in society in India.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116497
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
Uncontrolled keywords: medical profession, doctors, violence, health system, media, India
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: Medical Research Council (
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (
Wellcome Trust (
Depositing User: Michael Calnan
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2023 11:12 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 11:56 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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