The Incompatibility Between Social Worlds in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: The Case of Therapeutic Touch

  • Pia Vuolanto
Part of the Health, Technology and Society book series (HTE)


The focus of this chapter is on how, in the context of a controversy over therapeutic touch (TT) research in a Finnish university nursing department, different actors from different social worlds understood therapeutic touch and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities, and what these different understandings made of knowledge, science and technology. The documentary material, discussions in newspapers and in popular, professional and scientific journals revealed five social worlds: scepticism, medicine, nursing research, nursing and TT—with patients as silent implicated actors. The analysis demonstrates that to see CAM only in juxtaposition with medicine is to oversimplify the situation by neglecting the variety of actors involved in defining CAM and disregarding the multiple meanings of CAM controversies and their impact on various stakeholders.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia Vuolanto
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of TampereTampereFinland

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