We invite papers that explore tension and uncertainty in medical decision-making. How do morality, religion, science, politics, cultural tradition and social change coincide or conflict at the bedside, in the hospital, in the shaman's hut, or in sites of public health intervention?
Despite the globalisation of western biomedical knowledge and practice, in many places traditional and alternative models of sickness and healing remain popular (and some are even increasing in popularity). Of these, some are in tension with orthodox biomedical approaches, others are considered complementary; but all are sites of contestation. This panel invites papers that explore the factors that influence people's decisions in a medically pluralistic landscape. How do morality, religion, science, politics, cultural tradition and social change coincide or conflict at the bedside, in the hospital, in the shaman's hut, or in communities that are sites of public health intervention? In what ways do power and money circulate when patients, families, care-givers and policy-makers choose one form of treatment or health intervention over another, and to what effect? How are we as social scientists to make sense of these practices? When do we advocate for the maintenance of tradition, and when do we support interventions according to biomedical logic? With a focus on health/illness and medical pluralism in a globalised world, potential topics include, but are not limited to: sorcery and faith-healing; death, dying and palliative care; birth and child-rearing; complementary and alternative medicines; and global pandemics.