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Self, Health, and Gender: complementary and alternative medicine in the British mass media

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The growth of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the West entails complex geographies of health, identity and knowledge. Debates about why people are attracted to CAM highlight the importance of consumer agency and increasing access to health care information. The article explores a key space within which information on CAM is produced and negotiated: health and lifestyle magazines. Drawing upon interviews with the editors of eight British titles, the article outlines three ways in which CAM is discursively framed: as a pragmatic medical tool kit brought to bear on the diseased body; as a means of achieving 'total well-being' in everyday metropolitan space; and as a central pillar of an alternative lifestyle. The final section of the article considers how editors understand and address their predominantly female readerships, with an emphasis on how CAM is articulated within an ostensibly emancipatory project of self-responsibility and personal empowerment against the ambivalent backdrop of consumer culture.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Wales Swansea

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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