• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This is the first international and inter-disciplinary social science Handbook on health and medicine. Five years in the making, and building on the insights and advice of an international editorial board, the book brings together world-class figures to provide an indispensable, comprehensive resource book on social science, health and medicine. Pinpointing the focal issues of research and debate in one volume, the material is organized into three sections: social and cultural frameworks of analysis; the experience of health and illness; and health care systems and practices. Each section consists of specially commissioned chapters designed to examine the vital conceptual and methodological practice and policy issues.

Alternative Health Practices and Systems
Alternative health practices and systems
Introduction

Whilst biomedicine has achieved a position of preeminence in the health-care systems of ‘advanced’ societies, it has never been the only mode of health care open to sick people in modern times. Biomedicine emerged as the favoured partner of the state in most Western countries in the middle or late nineteenth century. The professional privilege recognized by the state has taken various forms: state registration of the medical profession, along with a high degree of professional autonomy; direct provision or funding of biomedical services for the populace (as in Britain and many other European countries); regulation or organization of insurance schemes covering biomedical but not (until recently) other forms of health care; heavy reliance on the ...

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