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

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Abstract

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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Notes

  1. 1.

    During the 1980s, nursing was institutionalised in seven Finnish universities. This was soon reduced to five, which continue their nursing programmes today. A special characteristic of Finland compared with other countries (Spitzer and Perrenoud 2006) is that professional nurses are not educated at universities but at the lower-level polytechnic institutes. University nursing curricula are intended to provide further education for nurses to become teachers, administrators and researchers, and to develop nursing research (Laiho 2012).

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Vuolanto, P. (2018). The Incompatibility Between Social Worlds in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: The Case of Therapeutic Touch. In: Brosnan, C., Vuolanto, P., Danell, JA. (eds) Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Health, Technology and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73939-7_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-73939-7_3

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