Paper long abstract:
The health care system in China appears as a paradigmatic case-study to question binary labelisation and categorization such as conventional versus unconventional medicines, or CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicines) versus biomedicine. The analysis of China's model revealing 'blurred' borders in paradigms helps in critically approaching the margins of biomedical and other systems, and in identifying key structural and conjectural features of an emerging 'floating sphere' in medical knowledge and practice. Heuristically for an anthropological perspective which is fundamentally comparative, a new trend to open its doors to complementary approaches emerges globally in the biomedical system: this trend notably gains grounds in treatment and care schemes designed for chronic diseases such as cancers, HIV/AIDS-related diseases, and in palliative care. I propose to discuss those issues on the basis of a study currently conducted in China about HIV/AIDS treatments and research schemes whose main patterns can be applied to other chronic diseases.
Complementary and alternative medicines and biomedicine in chronic diseases: what do we learn from the margins?