This traditional track with standard papers focuses on the processes associated with the knowledge production, professionalization, standardisation, integration and globalization of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has emerged as a key topic in the sociology of health and illness over the past 15 years. Increased rates of CAM use in the West have led sociologists to seek explanations for this trend and to explore patient experiences of CAM, and the relationship between CAM and other health professions. However, what remains largely unexamined until now is how CAM itself is shaped by social processes.
The purpose of this track is to examine the way that CAM itself - as knowledge, philosophy and material practice - is constituted by and transformed through, broader social developments. Rather than viewing CAM as a stable entity that elicits perceptions and experiences, the track will focus on the processes associated with the knowledge production, professionalization, standardization, integration and globalization of CAM. The track seeks STS perspectives and examinations of the forms that CAM takes in different settings, how global social transformations elicit varieties of CAM, and how CAM philosophies and practices are co-produced in the context of social change.
In particular, the track will examine what happens to CAM knowledge, CAM practices and the philosophy of the various CAM modalities in an increasingly standardized world; whether, when and why CAM takes on local characteristics, and what new forms of health practices and knowledge may emerge as CAM is subject to these influences.