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Reforming towards a scientific medicine and a changing social identity: British homoeopathy, 1866-1893

Chou, J-Y; (2016) Reforming towards a scientific medicine and a changing social identity: British homoeopathy, 1866-1893. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study aims to investigate whether homoeopathydeclinedn Britainduring the second half of the nineteenth centurywhen anemerging medicalprofession converged with the dawn of biomedicine. Previousstudies of the history of homoeopathy are often coloured by controversies over homoeopathy odayy To avoid the pitfalls of a presentist definition of homoeopathy and a dichotomous view of the relationship between homoeopathy and orthodox medicine, I analyse 'homoeopathy' as a social identityrather than a medical system or a collection of medical institutions. This study focuses on the homoeopathies' of medicallyy-ualified practitioners. I identify two important aspects of the socialdentity of professional homoeopaths: the idea of scientific medicine, and the identification with themedical profession. In this thesis I trace how the changes in these two aspectswereranslated into new homoeopathic practicetheories, andrelationships with themedical profession and lay public between 1866 and 1893I examine theextensive discussions among professional British homoeopaths regarding medical theoryand practice, and heir relationship with other medical practitioners and the publicas representedn homoeopathic journalspublications and archival sources during the time periodd This study challenges four prevailing notions in the historiography of heterodox medicine: the use of dichotomous frameworks to analyse acon~icting relationship between heterodox and orthodox medicines, the negligence of the deasof science in heterodox medicine, the notion of the ~decline~ of heterodox medicine during the second half of the nineteenth centuryand a grand narrativeof Angloo-axon homoeopathy. I conclude that professional homoeopathydid not decline' or become 'static' during the second half of the nineteenthcenturyn BritainnProfessional homoeopaths identified themselves first as scientific and professionalpractitioners rather than homoeopathic physicians. Homoeopathy' did not establishtself as an independent identity and its practitioners gradually merged withorthodoxynhe name of scientific medicine.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Reforming towards a scientific medicine and a changing social identity: British homoeopathy, 1866-1893
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474209
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