re alternative vs non-western

Mon, 25 Jul 1994 08:24:26 +1200

Dear Barbara Ruth,

I haven't been following all the Medical dialogue over my weekend, but just
glanced at your (first?) post of 24/7 (RE: Non-Western Medicine - New
England Journal of Medicine Study). The thing that struck me is that you
and/or other correspondents seem to have reified Western/non-western to an
extent that would make the categories useless for most thigns that would
interest me. You seem to be trying to place "massage", "spiritual
healing", etc into the categories western or non-western, rather than
considering them as categories which are more meaningful to the
participants and which may very well combine, for a single person, getting
a single bit of therapy, what you would call western and non-western.

I need a remedial lesson. I probably missed this earlier, but what makes
something non-western--origin in the distant past or use it is put to
today? Within the power structures in which we live, alternative or
complementary seem more promising starting categories, although these too
must be in an obvious state of flux.