Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India

V. Sujatha, Leena Abraham, Orient Blackswan, 2012, 408 p, ISBN : 9788125045014, $39.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India

Contents : Preface .  Introduction . Part I : Knowledge and Society: Ancient Medicine in the Contemporary Set-up : 1. Contrasting Approaches to Health and Disease: Ayurveda and Biomedicine . 2. Ayurveda in the Twenty-First Century: Logic, Practice and Ethics. 3. The Patient as Knower: Principle and Practice in Siddha Medicine . Part II : Medicine, State and Society :  4. AYUSH and Public Health: Democratic Pluralism and the Quality of Health Services . 5. Tension, Placation, Complaint: Unani and Post-Colonial Medical Communalism . Part III : Away from the State: Initiatives of Practitioners and Protagonists :  6. Competing for Medical Space: Traditional Practitioners in the Transmission and Promotion of Siddha Medicine . 7. Medicine as Culture: Indigenous Medicine in Cosmopolitan Mumbai . Part IV : Competing Indigenities: Mainstream versus Marginal in Medicine and Healing :  8. Strengthening Childbirth Care: Can the Maternity Services Open Up to Indigenous Traditions of Midwifery?  9. Global Standards and Local Medical Worlds: The Case of Childbirth Practices.  10. Recovering from Psychosocial Traumas: The Place of Dargahs in Maharashtra . 11. Local Health Practitioners in India: Resilience, Revitalisation and Reintegration .  12. Commercialising Traditional Medicine: Ayurvedic Manufacturing in Kerala. Glossary. References. List of Contributors . Index

Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India questions the dominant view of indigenous systems of medicine as cultural remnants of a traditional past. It points out that their practitioners greatly outnumber those of biomedicine (allopathy) and explores the reasons behind the enduring presence and importance of health care traditions such as ayurveda, siddha and unani.

The authors go beyond simplistic distinctions like traditional-modern and science-culture. They draw attention to the possibility of bridging the divide between knowledge systems, and prepare the ground for a socially and culturally inclusive approach to healing and health care.

Aspects of commercialisation and globalisation of traditional medicines are also examined.

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