Article: The Problem of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Today: Eyes Half Closed?
Article by John I. MacArtney, University of Queensland, and Ayo Wahlberg, associate professor at Department of Antropology. The article is published online before print January 9, 2014 in the journal Qualitative Health Research.
Commentators such as Goldacre, Dawkins, and Singh and Ernst are worried that the rise in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) represents a flight from science propagated by enemies of reason. We outline what kind of problem CAM use is for these commentators, and find that users of CAM have been constituted as duped, ignorant, irrational, or immoral in explaining CAM use. However, this form of problematization can be described as a flight from social science. We explore CAM use in light of a rigorous and robust social scientific body of knowledge about how individuals engage with CAM. By pointing to the push and pull factors, CAM user’s experiences of their body, and the problem of patient choice in CAM use, we summarize some of the key findings made by social scientists and show how they trouble many of the reasoned assumptions about CAM use.
Qualitative Health Research (QHR) is a peer-reviewed monthly journal that provides an international, interdisciplinary forum to enhance health care and further the development and understanding of qualitative research in health-care settings. QHR is an invaluable resource for researchers and academics, administrators and others in the health and social service professions, and graduates who seek examples of qualitative methods.