Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) As “Authoritative Practice”: Practitioners and Users’ Perspectives of TCM Evidence in Canadian Contexts

Friday, 20 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Ana NING, King's University College at Western University, Canada
Drawing upon multi-sited ethnographic research with practitioners and users of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, regarding constructions of TCM evidence of safety and effectiveness, this paper focuses on the complex and sometimes contradictory ways in which the production and use of a particular type of CAM knowledge take shape within specific socio-cultural contexts. The narratives of TCM practitioners and users will uncover the legitimacy of multiple evidence frameworks beyond the confines of bioscience to validate diverse therapeutic outcomes. As such, the production of scientific evidence as a presumed universal to constitute “authoritative knowledge” (Sargent & Floyd, 1996) – the knowledge that gets to count, and upon which decisions can be made – will be debunked in light of TCM practitioners and users’ engagement with “authoritative practice” (MacDonald, forthcoming) – the health provider who gets to count, who gets to make decisions, and who is entrusted with solid understanding and use of traditional and scientific knowledge. Thus, the question of who can deliver TCM is just as important as what TCM itself can do.