Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Bodies, Therapies, by Ruth Barcan

By Ruth Barcan

Replacement cures, as soon as the province of the hippie counterculture, are actually a mainstream phenomenon. yet they're greater than a scientific and financial sensation. straight away non secular and physically, scientific and leisure, they're an significantly well known cultural perform certain up with the pleasure-seeking force of buyer tradition in addition to with non secular and neo-liberal values.

Complementary and replacement medication severely examines this phenomenon - which a few denounce because the triumph of superstition over cause - by way of asking practitioners themselves what makes those treatments so appealing.

Drawing on a wealth of interviews with Complementary and replacement drugs (CAM) practitioners in addition to at the author's longstanding participation in CAM tradition, the ebook offers a miles wanted glance from either the interior and the surface of the CAM phenomenon. This booklet is vital examining for college kids and students of cultural experiences, anthropology, sensory experiences and sociology.

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Describe, ‘in living one’s life in full awareness of one’s states of being; in enriching one’s experiences; in finding ways of handling negative emotions; in becoming sensitive enough to find out where and how the quality of one’s life – alone or in relation – may be improved’ (2005: 4). New Age spiritual practices are often based in the body, and the senses are not seen as obstacles to spiritual development but as a pathway to it. THE RISE OF CONSUMERISM Spirituality-in-the-body also chimes with a consumer culture in which inner states are increasingly bound up with commodities.

As such it is both a cultural mapping and a modest theoretical intervention. I know their incommensurability all too well, since my autobiography and my intellectual biography (Skeggs 1995: 194) have so thoroughly, and often so painfully, intertwined them. Let me illustrate this intertwining of contradictions with two stories, both dating from the beginnings of my interest in alternative therapies, which coincided almost exactly with the beginning of my postgraduate training. These stories serve both to clarify what my own speaking position in this book will be, and to situate my personal dilemmas within a larger politics of knowledge.

So too, the new feminist work that contests conventional feminist rejection of the biological sciences is of great inspiration in opening up new ways of thinking about the body. I am following the lead of feminists like Lynda Birke (1999), Elizabeth A. Wilson (2004), Anna Gibbs (2002) and Elspeth Probyn (2000), who critique or resist the non- or anti-biologism that often underpins even nuanced cultural approaches. Wilson, in particular, has been a vehement critic of feminist antibiologism, arguing not only that biology offers an as yet untapped resource for feminists, but that anti-biologism actively undercuts even the most subtle of cultural readings of the body: [P]roblematically, much of the feminist work on embodiment seems to gesture towards a flat organic realm elsewhere as a way of securing a more valuable or dynamic account of the body closer to home.

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