The inequalities of medical pluralism: Hierarchies of health, the politics of tradition and the economies of care in Indian oncology

Broom, A, Doron, A and Tovey, P (2009) The inequalities of medical pluralism: Hierarchies of health, the politics of tradition and the economies of care in Indian oncology. Social Science and Medicine, 69 5: 698-706. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.07.002

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Author Broom, A
Doron, A
Tovey, P
Title The inequalities of medical pluralism: Hierarchies of health, the politics of tradition and the economies of care in Indian oncology
Journal name Social Science and Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0277-9536
1873-5347
Publication date 2009-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.07.002
Volume 69
Issue 5
Start page 698
End page 706
Total pages 9
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Abstract India has an eclectic health system that incorporates biomedical as well as traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM). Our understanding of the co-existence of these therapeutic modalities in this diverse, postcolonial and developing nation is extremely limited, and in the context of cancer care, to our knowledge no sociological work has been carried out. Contemporary Indian oncology represents a fascinating site for examining the interplay and articulation of forms of tradition/modernity, economic progress/structural constraint and individual beliefs/cultural norms. In a context of an increase in the prevalence and impact of cancer in an ageing Indian population, this paper reports on a qualitative investigation of a group of oncology clinicians' accounts of ‘pluralism’ in India. The results illustrate the embeddedness of patient disease and therapeutic trajectories in vast social inequalities and, indeed, the intermingling of therapeutic pluralism and the politics of social value. We conclude that notions of pluralism, so often espoused by global health organisations, may conceal important forms of social inequality and cultural divides, and that sociologists should play a critical role in highlighting these issues.
Keyword India
Cancer
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
Oncology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Social Science Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 21 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 04 Jul 2011, 16:39:53 EST by Associate Professor Alexander Broom on behalf of School of Social Science