Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a major component of healthcare in most late modern societies. While there is increasing recognition of the need for more research in this area, it is frequently argued that such research should be directed towards establishing ‘evidence’ that will provide ‘answers’ to policy questions. However, complementary medicine is also a topic worthy of study in its own right, a historically contingent social product, and it is this sociological agenda that underpins The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Contributors to the book come from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They draw on their own research to explore issues such as who uses CAM and why; the rhetoric of individual responsibility; the role of consumers as activists; the significance of evidence-based medicine; and contested boundaries in the workplace. The book also discusses specific processes relating to CAM practitioners, GPs and nurses.
Stepping back from the immediate demands of policy-making, The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine allows a complex and informative picture to emerge of the different social forces at play in the integration of CAM with orthodox medicine. Complementing books that focus solely on practice, it will be relevant reading for all students following health sociology, health studies or healthcare courses, for medical students and medical and healthcare professionals, as well as academic CAM specialists.
PART I: Consumption in cultural context
1. Consuming health
2. Consumption as activism: an examination of CAM as part of the consumer movement in health
3. Health as individual responsibility: possibilities and personal struggle
PART II: The structural context of the state and the market
4. Evidence-based medicine and CAM
5. The regulation of practice: practitioners and their interactions with organisations
6. The corporatisation and commercialisation of CAM
PART III: Boundary contestation in the workplace
7. Integration and paradigm clash: the practical difficulties of integrative medicine
8. CAM practitioners and the professionalisation process: a Canadian comparative case study
9. CAM and general practitioners
10. CAM and nursing: from advocacy to critical sociology
Title: The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Author: Philip Tovey, Gary Easthope, Jon Adams