Safety as ‘Boundary Object’: The Case of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Regulation in Ontario, Canada

  • Nadine Ijaz
  • Heather Boon
Part of the Health, Technology and Society book series (HTE)


This chapter applies a theoretical concept from science and technology studies, that of the boundary object, to the field of professional regulation as it pertains to traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM). By examining state risk discourses and the construction of regulatory parameters for acupuncture, the issue of English-language fluency for immigrant practitioners and the negotiation of standard-setting across professions, our analysis points to ways in which safety-related discourse may play a disproportionate role in TCAM regulatory processes. This discursive emphasis on safety, aligned with biomedicine’s ‘evidence-based’ conceptual underpinnings, deflects attention from other important regulatory considerations. It also serves to reinforce the subordination of non-biomedical epistemologies and practitioners even while these become newly integrated into mainstream healthcare. Regulators of TCAM professionals and practices should bring careful awareness to the difference between safety as discourse and safety as policy consideration.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadine Ijaz
    • 1
  • Heather Boon
    • 1
  1. 1.Leslie Dan Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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