The Newsletter 63 Spring 2013

The re-emergence of medical diversity in India

Helen Lambert

Reviewed publication:
Sujatha V. & Abraham, L. (eds.). 2012. Medical Pluralism in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 408 pp, ISBN: 9788125045014 (hardcover)

As the organisers of an anthropology conference on Medical Pluralism held in Rome in 2011 noted, medical pluralism – generally understood as the co-existence of diverse medical traditions in a single setting – is something of an ‘old fashioned’ topic in the social sciences. Although the term itself came into vogue only in the 1970s its emergence as a focus of research dates back to the 1950s, when anthropologists started to observe the expansion of ‘Western’ medicine or ‘biomedicine’ into developing country contexts and examine its effects on indigenous understandings and practices regarding illness.

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