Theorizing Complementary and Alternative Medicines: Wellbeing, Self, Gender, Class

Hardcover | May 15, 2012

byEeva Sointu

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Rather than physiological health only, complementary and alternative medicines aim at the production of wellbeing. This wellbeing signifies fulfilment and balance, and an ability to actively navigate the everyday challenges in life. Defining wellbeing in this manner reproduces important ideals shaping understandings of normal and desirable selfhood: individual uniqueness, agency, self-responsibility, and self-fulfilment. These ideals permeate the cultural sphere across Western societies, but at the same time,understandings such as these belong to people with the material and cultural means to engage in the holistic health domain.


Addressing the increasing proliferation of complementary and alternative medicines, this book explores the meanings that people attach to non-biomedical health practices and of the therapeutic experiences that emerge through holistic medicines, arguing that these medicines are intimately connected with the changing configurations of selfhood, gender and class.


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Rather than physiological health only, complementary and alternative medicines aim at the production of wellbeing. This wellbeing signifies fulfilment and balance, and an ability to actively navigate the everyday challenges in life. Defining wellbeing in this manner reproduces important ideals shaping understandings of normal and desir...

EEVA SOINTU Assistant Professor of Sociology at Smith College
Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9.01 × 5.67 × 0.98 inPublished:May 15, 2012Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230309313

ISBN - 13:9780230309319

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction Landscapes of Complementary and Alternative Health Wellbeing, Selfhood and Subjectivity Gendering the Search for Wellbeing Prescription: Recognition Negotiating Therapeutic Legitimacy The Holistic Body and Mind The Spirit in Mind, Body and Spirit Healing Body-Subjects Conclusions Bibliography Notes