Power shifts at the political and economic level create uncertainties but also new opportunities that affect therapeutic practices, health-seeking behaviour and governance practices related to the health of populations. In situations of political or economic change, pharmaceutical properties, therapeutic traditions and new medical technologies can gain new significance; they can articulate cultural heritage, neo-liberal market reforms and progress and modernity.
Users of health care resources react to situations of crisis and uncertainty with pragmatic decision-making and eclectic therapy choices in order to cope with the ensuing instability. Choice of therapies and notions of sickness can provide meaningful idioms through which people's new social positions are expressed?
The papers focus on pharmaceutical properties as cultural resources; strategies of integrating traditional medicines into the public health care system; the disclosure and secrecy of knowledge; the emergence of new medical markets; how therapies mediate social and political change; how notions of sickness express risk and fear; and how medical technologies produce new uncertainties. An additional focus is on how states and various stakeholders instrumentalise pharmaceutical properties and therapeutic traditions; how practitioners navigate new competition and opportunities in expanding medical markets; how patients use medical traditions with pragmatic eclecticism; and how new technologies create novel uncertainties. The panel aims to give a broad and at the same time in-depth picture of diverse agencies in pluralistic medicinal settings in times of ongoing political change and inherent crisis.