"[A] brilliant reflection on the dynamic complexity of contemporary Chinese medicine. . . . [O]ne of the best of a wave of new studies on Chinese medicine that are sure to change the field."
As a traditional healing art that has established a contemporary global presence, Chinese medicine defies categories and raises many interesting questions. If Chinese medicine is "traditional," why has it not disappeared with the rest of traditional Chinese society? If, as some claim, it is a science, what does that imply about what we call science? What is the secret of Chinese medicine's remarkable adaptability that has allowed it to prosper for more than 2,000 years? In Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China Volker Scheid presents an ethnography of Chinese medicine that seeks to answer these questions, but his ethnography is informed by some atypical approaches.
Scheid, a medical anthropologist and practitioner of Chinese medicine in practice since 1983, has produced an ethnography that accepts plurality as an intrinsic and nonreducible aspect of medical practice. It has been widely noted that a patient visiting ten different practitioners of Chinese medicine may receive ten different prescriptions for the same complaint, yet many of these various treatments may be effective. In attempting to illuminate the plurality in Chinese medical practice, Scheid redefines-and in some cases abandons-traditional anthropological concepts such as tradition, culture, and practice in favor of approaches from disciplines such as science and technology studies, social psychology, and Chinese philosophy. As a result, his book sheds light not only on Chinese medicine but also on the Western academic traditions used to examine it and presents us with new perspectives from which to deliberate the future of Chinese medicine in a global context.
Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China is the product of two decades of research including numerous interviews and case studies. It will appeal to a western academic audience as well as practitioners of Chinese medicine and other interested medical professionals, including those from western biomedicine.
Description by the publisher, Duke University Press
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"[A] brilliant reflection on the dynamic complexity of contemporary
Chinese medicine. . . . [O]ne of the best of a wave of new studies on
Chinese medicine that are sure to change the field."
Philip S. Sho, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
". . . its case studies will allow scholars access to the rich texture and complexity of medicine in China, and render them available for interpretation across disciplinary boundaries."
Roberta Bivins, Technology and Culture
"There is no doubt that Scheid's work has altered the face of anthropological research into Chinese medicine."
Vivenne Lo, Medical History
“[A] hugely significant read for anyone interested in the practice and development of Chinese medicine during the last hundred years. . . . This book is the clearest and most complete explanation I have read of the various factors influencing the development of Chinese medicine in Republican, Maoist, Dengist, and contemporary China. If I were going to teach a class in the history of Chinese medicine, this book definitely would be assigned reading. . . . [F]or anyone interested in a mature, complex, but thoroughly human and humane discussion of Chinese medicine, this book is a true eye-opener.”
Bob Flaws, The Pulse of Alternative Medicine
List of Figures and Tables
Timeline on Chinese History
Geographical Map of China
Chinese Medicine and the Problem of Plurality
2. Plurality and Synthesis: Toward a Multisited Ethnography of Chinese Medicine
Contemporary Chinese Medicine: Six Perspectives
3. Hegemonic Pluralism: Chinese Medicine in a Socialist State
4. Dilemmas and Tactical Agency: Patients and the Transformation of Chinese Medicine
5. Shaping Chinese Medicine: Integration, Innovation, Synthesis
6. Students, Disciples, and the Art of Social Networking: Becoming a Physician of Chinese Medicine
7. Bianzheng lunzhi: The Emergent Pivot of Contemporary Chinese Medicine
8. Creating Knowledge: The Origins of Plurality
9. The Future of Chinese Medicine
Appendix. Four Attempts at Systematizing Pattern Differentiation and Treatment Determination
Bibliography of Premodern Chinese Medical Texts
Bibliography of Modern Chinese and Western Sources
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