Western and traditional medicine in India, Myanmar and Thailand: engagement and contestation

Paul T. Cohen, Chris Lyttleton, Thapin Phatcharanuruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Scientific medicine has been inextricably linked to the development of modern state governmentality, ensuring its hegemony in the West and regions colonized by Western powers. In this context, we examine the historical and contested relationship between biomedicine and traditional medicine in three Asian countries—India, Myanmar and Thailand. We argue that selective regulation of a narrowly defined ‘traditional medicine’ subordinates other forms of traditional healing that are incompatible with scientific paradigms and associated metrics of accreditation. Yet, these marginalized forms of ‘folk healing’ that emphasize spiritual dimensions of health increasingly assist with contemporary mental health problems arising from rapid capitalist development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-289
Number of pages28
JournalSojourn
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • biomedicine
  • colonialism
  • folk healing
  • governmentality
  • India
  • mental health
  • Myanmar
  • phenomenology
  • Thailand
  • traditional medicine

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