Biomedicine as a Contested Site

Biomedicine as a Contested Site : Some Revelations in Imperial Contexts

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While literature on medicine and colonialism has increased rapidly in the past nearly two decades, this volume presents yet another way of looking at ideas of medicine, health, and disease. It portrays the role played by power in various ways in which biomedicine became a site of contested ventures_a site which saw an interplay of medicine, ruling ideologies, and resistance by indigenous populations. Ideas of disease and health range from control of infectious diseases and epidemics, medications and indigenous therapeutics, clinical medicine and surgery, to reproductive health, with the added dimension of medical pluralism and elites as enabling these interactions and processes. This book will be of interest to undergraduate and graduate students of history, sociology, anthropology, medicine, and public health. With essays on different regions around the world, it will serve as a guide to scholars and students in colonial studies, history of medicine, and world history.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 196 pages
  • MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739131389
  • 9780739131381

About Poonam Bala

Poonam Bala is the author of Imperialism and Medicine in Bengal: A Socio-Historical Perspective (Sage, 1992) and Medicine and Medical Policies in India: Social and Historical Perspectives (Lexington Books, 2007).
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Review quote

All too often in contemporary discussions of the interaction between medicine and society, the historical and colonial underpinnings of the present conditions are glossed over. These outstanding and impeccably researched essays, covering almost every partof the globe, provide a much needed corrective to this state of affairs and contribute to a deeper understanding of the complex and contradictory relationship between imperial power and medicine....--Zaheer Baber, University of Toronto Historians have long recognized that medicine and imperialism were intimately connected; that colonial power was exercised on and through the body in an attempt to discipline subject populations. But this book breaks new ground in its nuanced analysis ofthe ways in which biomedical power was exercised and resisted. Covering an admirably diverse array of colonial contexts, the essays show that the persistence of traditional ideas and practices, and the emergence of a pluralistic medical market, served tolimit the effectiveness of Western medicine in attaining power of the bodies of colonized peoples...--Mark Harrison This remarkable collective scholarship demonstrates how despite the dominance of bio-power and its exclusionary and exploitative tactics, a sub-altern health contestation evolved in the context of medical pluralism in colonial times. This edited volume isa valuable addition to the repertoire of medical history....--K. R. Nayar Biomedicine as a Contested Site shows us the dialectics of power and knowledge in colonial societies of the past. Not only social historians will benefit from the insights provided by this book because its theme is highly relevant for understandingof contemporary medical pluralism in which biomedicine coexists with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Just as in the past when indigenous medicines had to deal with the structural dominance of western medicine, the CAM practitioners of todaywalk a fine line between competition, accommodation, and resistance...--Maarten Bode
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