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Quackademia? Mass-media delegitimation of homeopathy education

Caldwell, Elizabeth F. (2017) Quackademia? Mass-media delegitimation of homeopathy education. Science as Culture, 26 (3). pp. 380-407. ISSN 0950-5431

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In response to concerns about the standards of training for non-medically qualified
homeopathic practitioners, between 1999 and 2009 a number of UK universities taught
Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees in homeopathy. All the courses were subsequently
closed following media coverage of a vigorous campaign from scientists against the
degree courses. A boundary-work analysis of 65 articles published in the UK print
media reveals the use of metaphors from a number of different fields as rhetorical
strategies to malign homeopathy education. As well as the commonly used contrasts of
profit versus academic integrity, rationality versus faith and logic versus magic, media
reports associated homeopathy with new universities and Mickey Mouse degrees, both
of which had been denigrated in the press previously. In the press coverage, much
attention was also drawn to the fact that the method of repeatedly diluting homeopathic
medicines defies both logic and common sense, and the plausibility argument became a
decisive blow in the debate over the legitimacy of teaching homeopathy as a science
degree. It seems that the boundary work sought to protect the authority of both science
and medicine by expelling homeopathy from higher education. These findings contrast
with previous studies that suggest that orthodox medicine has occasionally expanded to
incorporate desirable aspects of complementary and alternative therapies. Scientists
carry out boundary work not just to demarcate the boundaries of science and directly
defend their own interests, but also to protect the authority of other allied professions.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RX Homeopathy
Schools: School of Art, Design and Architecture
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Elizabeth Caldwell
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 08:43
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2018 01:38


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