Conversions and Erasures: Colonial Ontologies in Canadian and International Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Integration Policies

  • Cathy Fournier
  • Robin Oakley
Part of the Health, Technology and Society book series (HTE)


In this chapter, we suggest that the process of integrating traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) into Canadian public healthcare, including biomedical education, can be seen as a continuation of the struggle between what is considered ‘rational’ Western biomedicine, and traditional medicine and of approaches to health that began during the colonial era. More specifically, we propose that there are ontological parallels to the colonial era conversion of traditional/indigenous medicine elicited through the call for increased surveillance, standardisation, and regulation of TCAM. Furthermore, the call for regulation, standardisation, and surveillance is obscured by hegemonic biomedical discourses related to public health and safety by international institutions such as the World Bank and WHO.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathy Fournier
    • 1
  • Robin Oakley
    • 2
  1. 1.Wilson CentreUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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