Markets of Medicine: Orthodox medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and religion in Britain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the markets of medicine from a neo-Weberian standpoint. As such, it focuses on the legally-based social closure gained through medical professionalization in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. This created a realm of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which replaced a more competitive, pluralistic medical marketplace in the early industrialization period that was partly influenced by various forms of Christianity. However, this newly-formed sphere of CAM, which included religious practices, declined in the wake of its increasingly disadvantaged position in the medical market and continuing attacks by scientific biomedicine linked to professional self-interest. Nonetheless, CAM was revitalized by the 1960s/70s counter-culture when there were increasing numbers of practitioners and users of unorthodox therapies. Although there have been subsequent challenges for both CAM and orthodox medicine, one form of pluralism has to some degree been replaced by another-as growing secularization in a largely Christian milieu has been paralleled by the rising popularity of CAM, including therapies based on Eastern religious philosophies. The chapter concludes that more focus should be given to the impact of such shifts on users of services in the markets of medicine in an increasingly global environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Religion, Medicine, and Health
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000464306
ISBN (Print)9781138630062
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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