Negotiating the Holistic Turn

The Domestication of Alternative Medicine

By Judith Fadlon

Subjects: Medical Sociology, Medical Anthropology, Health Care
Paperback : 9780791463161, 168 pages, January 2006
Hardcover : 9780791463154, 168 pages, February 2005

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Table of contents




Biomedical Culture Revisited
Outline of the Book


1. Conceptualizing NCM


Approaches in the History of NCM Research
Domestication: Making Sense of Medicine
Acculturation and Assimilation
Domestication and the Flow of Culture


2. Setting the Scene: NCM in Israel


The Legal Status of NCM in Israel
NCM Institutions in Israel
Methodological Considerations


3. Negotiation: The NCM Clinic


The Clinic and its Boundaries
How the Clinic Worked
The Staff
Case Presentations


4. The Patients: Group Profile and Patterns of Use


Cultural Outlook and the Use of NCM
Sociodemographic Characteristics and Health Problems
Patients' Attitudes toward Biomedicine
Cultural Outlook and Practices
The Convergence of Statistics and Ethnography


5. Dissemination: The Popular Discourse of NCM


Interprofessional Discourse in the Public Arena
The Narrative Formula of Dissemination
Magic Moments
Deus ex Machina¬óBio Medicine as the Organizing Principle
Conventional Medicine Fights Back
Horror Stories


6. Institutionalization: The NCM College


Introductory Lecture for Potential Students
The Yearbook
The Oriental Medicine Curriculum
The College Bulletin


7. Conclusion: Familiarizing the Exotic


Domestication: Clinic, College, Media, and Patients
Local Findings¬óGlobal Implications?
Why Domestication? The Interplay between Biomedical
Hegemony and Consumerist Demand
The "Other" Appropriated and the "Other" Rejected
NCM and the Postmodern Body


Appendix: NCM Modalities Available at the Clinic




Examines the growing popularity of alternative medicine as a personal health care option.


Alternative medicine, once an anti-establishment outsider, has enjoyed such growing popularity in recent years that it has generated a new medical industry, complete with adherents, practitioners, researchers, lobbyists, and regulations. As it has grown, alternative medicine has gradually assumed a different position in the provision of health care. Combining ethnographic study with quantitative data, Judith Fadlon explains the popularity of alternative medicine, as well as the ease with which individuals now move between conventional and alternative medicine and between different alternative modalities. She concludes that alternative medicine has been undergoing domestication, a process by which the foreign is rendered familiar. Although the focus of the study is urban Israel, it is argued that domestication is a major force at work in a number of Western countries.

Judith Fadlon teaches sociology and anthropology of health.