1st Edition

Complementary and Alternative Medicine Containing and Expanding Therapeutic Possibilities

By Kevin Dew Copyright 2021
    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    Complementary and Alternative Medicine is a sociological investigation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in contemporary society, and an exploration of the forces throughout the globe, across different institutions, and within different therapeutic spaces, that constrain or foster alternative medicine.

    Drawing on 30 years of research, the book identifies the trends in the use of CAM and explores the scientific, political and social challenges that CAM faces in relation to orthodox medicine. The author examines the varieties of CAM practices and how they manifest in different institutional spaces – including public inquiries, the orthodox medical practitioner’s consulting room, medical journals and the homes of those who use CAM. It also compares unorthodox practices in different geo-political settings, namely the global north and the global south.

    This book is valuable reading for higher-level undergraduate and postgraduate social science students, including those in psychology, sociology, anthropology, health sciences and related disciplines. It is relevant for courses in medical sociology, medical anthropology and social science and health, and a broader audience interested in contemporary health issues, controversies and alternative medicine.

    Chapter 1: Introduction to complemenatary and alternative medicine and therapeutic pluralism

    Chapter 2: State medicine, regulating practices and the creation of alternatives

    Chapter 3: Disciplining and integrating practices

    Chapter 4: Adjusting to statist medicine and the manipulation of chiropractic

    Chapter 5: Transformation, continuity and the ebb and flow of Chinese medicine

    Chapter 6: Empire, tradition and the many therapeutic faces of India

    Chapter 7: The unregulated CAM user and the expansion of therapeutic possibilities

    Chapter 8: The fraught use of CAM in cancer care

    Chapter 9: Incoherent forces: the disciplining and the unruliness of complementary and alternative therapies


    Kevin Dew is Professor of Sociology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is a founding member of the Applied Research on Communication in Health (ARCH) group. His books include The Cult and Science of Public Health: A Sociological Investigation and Public Health, Personal Health and Pills: Drug Entanglements and Pharmaceuticalised Governance. His current research activities include studies of cancer survivorship and cancer care decision-making in relation to health inequities.