Accepted Paper:

Chinese acupuncture in Norway: experiencing traditional Chinese acupuncture in the context of a biomedical evaluation  

Author:

Gry Sagli (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss patients' perspectives on the effects of acupuncture as compared to the results of a medical evaluation carried out in a public hospital in Norway in order to measure these effects.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will discuss patients' perspectives on the effects of acupuncture as compared to the results of a medical evaluation carried out in a public hospital in Norway in order to measure these effects. In the discussion I will draw on data from a project focussing on experiences (bodily feelings and verbal articulation) from participation in Chinese health practices (traditional Chinese acupuncture and qigong/taijiquan) in Norway. Fieldwork has been carried out in different social settings, both inside and outside public health care. In the autumn of 2006 a hospital in Norway conducted a pilot project to evaluate the effects of receiving a series of acupuncture treatment sessions. As part of my fieldwork,

I have observed treatment sessions and interviewed some of the persons who participated in the pilot.

I will apply the concept of the power of constructing reality, as elaborated by Bourdieu (1991), in order to analyse the finding that there are effects that both patients and the medical evaluators seem to see as 'natural', but that there also are examples of great discrepancy between the viewpoints of patients and medical observers. In conclusion I will discuss the question of acupuncture evaluation in the context in which it takes place, namely in the tension between evidence-based medicine and an attempt to integrate acupuncture in a public hospital ward.

Panel W014
From medical pluralism to therapeutic plurality: medical anthropology and the politics of diversity, knowledge, and experience from multiple perspectives