The wheel turns? Professionalisation and alternative medicine in Britain

Saks, Mike (1999) The wheel turns? Professionalisation and alternative medicine in Britain. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 13 (2). pp. 129-138. ISSN 1356-1820

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This paper examines the impact of the process of professionalism on alternative medicine in Britain, particularly as regards its relationship with orthodox medicine. In the nineteenth century the development of alternative medicine was linked to the professionalisation of medicine, in so far as the rise of medical orthodoxy played a central part in its definition as a marginal activity. The professional monopoly so created subsequently became further from other occupational groups in the health care division of labour, as it expanded to include a number of subordinated professions allied to medicine. The latest challenge from the 1960s onwards has come from the resurgence of alternative medicine, not least because a number of groups associated with unorthodox therapies have now themselves begun to take the path to professionalisation. This new trend and its implications for both medical dominance and the wider public are discussed in this paper, as the wheel of professionalisation appears to be turning full circle in Britain as the new millenium approaches.

Keywords:alternative medicine, history of medicine, medical profession, review, United Kingdom
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B340 Alternative Medicine
L Social studies > L431 Health Policy
Divisions:Professional services > Vice Chancellors Office
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ID Code:12613
Deposited On:02 Dec 2013 15:38

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