Money, commodification and complementary health care: Theorising personalised medicine within de-personalised systems of exchange
McClean, S. and Moore, R. (2013) Money, commodification and complementary health care: Theorising personalised medicine within de-personalised systems of exchange. Social Theory and Health, 11 (2). pp. 194-214. ISSN 1477-8211
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Across the UK and other Western nations, complementary health care has become big business, with pressure to commercialise and technologise its goods and services. Economic liberalisation and the democratisation of health care have encouraged the increased commodification of complementary health services. This paper focuses particularly on more personalised forms of complementary health care such as folk healing, but equally highlights the importance of a whole healthcare systems analysis when thinking about commodification and marketisation. We develop an exploratory synthesis of recent empirical data in the UK, in which we theorise the significance of money for complementary health care, and folk healing. Four mutual themes and questions emerge and are presented here, with a discussion of their contribution to wider theoretical debates about money, the community, and social and healthcare systems.