Shaping of ‘Embodied Expertise’ in Alternative Medicine

  • Inge Kryger Pedersen
  • Charlotte Andreas Baarts
Part of the Health, Technology and Society book series (HTE)


By exploring ‘embodied expertise’ in alternative treatments, this chapter endeavours to help us to account for the popularity of alternative medicine. Embodied expertise has been a much-neglected area in healthcare research for alternative medicine compared with ‘negative’ explanations such as studies of practitioners’ (lack of) education, treatment effects and effectiveness, or users’ dissatisfaction with conventional healthcare. Drawing on a concept of expertise different from ‘expert’ and ‘profession’ allows us to identify dimensions such as skills, knowledge, and spatiality developed not only by practitioners but also in the practitioner-user encounter. Based on a study of three of the most popular forms of alternative medicine in Denmark, we demonstrate how these dimensions are central to developing relationships between (1) expert and lay, (2) experience and evidence-based knowledge, and (3) clinic and home. We argue that such relationships develop the embodied expertise of practitioners, as well as that of users of alternative medicine.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inge Kryger Pedersen
    • 1
  • Charlotte Andreas Baarts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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