Accepted paper:

Continuities and discontinuities in Chinese medical practice in Edinburgh


Colin Millard (Queen Mary, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss various themes associated with diaspora in Chinese medical practices in Edinburgh. It will focus on continuities and discontinuities in Chinese medicine in Edinburgh practices, and on how Chinese medicine has adapted to meet the criteria for statutory self-regulation.

Paper long abstract:

Based on ethnographic research carried out in several Chinese medical practices in the city of Edinburgh, this paper will discuss various themes associated with diaspora studies and Chinese medicine, such as: the relationship between the homeland and the diaspora community, the ways in which Chinese medicine articulates a specific sense of social identity and the ways in which this is challenged by displacement. The research will also consider continuities and discontinuities between the traditional setting and Chinese medical practice in the Edinburgh clinics. In terms of continuity the paper will discuss the transmission of medical knowledge as it relates to practitioners in each of the clinics. The paper will consider the extent to which Chinese medicine is represented and practiced in a uniform way within the diaspora community. It will also consider the relationship with the homeland with respect to importation of traditional medicinal compounds and raw ingredients. A further area of discussion will be the effects of the hegemonic dominance of biomedicine in terms of epistemological issues within clinical practice and the ways in which the institution of Chinese medicine in the UK is being transformed by present government policy direction toward statutory self regulation of practitioners of complementary and alternative medicines.

panel W006
Ethnographies of medical encounters between Europe and Asia