Medical systems function in specific cultural contexts. It is
common to speak of the medicine of China, Japan, India, and other
nation-states. Yet almost all formalized medical systems claim
universal applicability and, thus, are ready to cross the cultural
boundaries that contain them. There is a critical tension, in
theory and practice, in the ways regional medical systems are
conceptualized as "nationalistic" or inherently transnational. This
volume is concerned with questions and problems created by the
friction between nationalism and transnationalism at a time when
globalization has greatly complicated the notion of cultural,
political, and economic boundedness.
Offering a range of perspectives, the contributors address
questions such as: How do states concern themselves with the
modernization of "traditional" medicine? How does the global
hegemony of science enable the nationalist articulation of
alternative medicine? How do global discourses of science and "new
age" spirituality facilitate the transnationalization of "Asian"
medicine? As more and more Asian medical practices cross boundaries
into Western culture through the popularity of yoga and herbalism,
and as Western medicine finds its way east, these systems of
meaning become inextricably interrelated. These essays consider the
larger implications of transmissions between cultures.
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