To exemplify the legitimation processes of a pluralistic health field this article focuses on representations of Chinese medicine and its most popular spokes-person, Rene Bürkland, in the Estonian media. From 320 media texts published between 2009 and 2018 we chose 12 for close analysis with the aim of detecting specific discourses, untangling implicit meanings, and demonstrating the complexity of the rhetorical formulations used to legitimate Chinese medicine. We identified five key discourses – discourses of Bürkland’s charisma, holistic health, individual autonomy, subtle body, and integrative medicine – underpinning various legitimation strategies which aim to change the position of Chinese medicine from alternative to integrative. Our study reveals that the absence of scientific rhetoric together with key discourses has left Chinese medicine and its spokesperson without the attention of biggest critics of CAM and, therefore, has secured a positive image for Chinese medicine in the public discourse.
Anderson, Joan and Sheryl Reimer Kirkham. 1999. Discourses on Health: A Critical Perspective. – A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics, edited by Harold Coward and Pinit Ratanakul. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 47–67.
Baer, Hans A. 2008. The Emergence of Integrative Medicine in Australia. The Growing Interest of Biomedicine and Nursing in Complementary Medicine in a Southern Developed Society. – Medical Anthropology Quarterly 22 (1): 52–66. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-1387.2008.00003.x.
Barcan, Ruth. 2011. Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Bodies, Therapies, Senses. Oxford; New York, NY: Berg.
Briggs, Charles and Daniel Hallin. 2016. Making Health Public: How News Coverage Is Remaking Media, Medicine, and Contemporary Life. London; New York, NY: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315658049.
Bryman, Alan. 1992. Charisma, and Leadership in Organizations. London: Sage.
Bürkland, Rene. 2014. Tervise alkeemia. Hiina meditsiiniline lähenemine tervisele ja haigustele. Tallinn: Pilgrim.
Bürkland, Rene. 2016. Tark tee terviseni. Hiina toitumisteraapia tervise tugevdamiseks ja haigustest para nemiseks. Tallinn: Pilgrim.
Cant, Sarah and Ursula Sharma. 1999. A New Medical Pluralism? Alternative Medicine, Doctors, Patients and the State. London; New York, NY: Routledge.
Coulter, Ian. 2004. Integration and Paradigm Clash: The Practical Difficulties of Integrative Medicine. – The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, edited by Philip Tovey, Gary Easthope and Jon Adams. New York, NY; London: Routledge, 103–122. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203987902-10.
Fries, Christopher J. 2009. Bourdieu’s Reflexive Sociology as a Basis for Mixed Methods Research: An Application to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. – Journal of Mixed Methods Research 3(4): 326–348. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689809336660.
Hammer, Olav. 2001. Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. Leiden; Boston, MA; Köln: Brill.
Harnett, Susan and Jane Morgan-Daniel. 2018. Health Literacy Considerations for Users of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. – Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet 22 (1): 63–71. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15398285.2018.1415593.
Hoenders, H. J. Rogier; Martin T. Appelo, Erik van den Brink, Bregje M. A. Hartogs and Joop Tvm de Jong. 2011. The Dutch Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Protocol: To Ensure the Safe and Effective Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine within Dutch Mental Health Care. – The Journal of Alternative and Compementary Medicine 17 (12): 1197–1201. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0762.
Hollenberg, Daniel and Linda Muzzin. 2010. Epistemological Challenges to Integrative Medicine: An Anticolonial Perspective on the Combination of Complementary/Alternative Medicine with Biomedicine. – Health Sociology Review 19 (1): 34–56. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5172/hesr.2010.19.1.034.
House, Robert J.; William D. Spangler and James Woycke. 1991. Personality and Charisma in the U.S. Presidency: A Psychological Theory of Leader Effectiveness. – Administrative Science Quarterly 36: 364–396. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2393201.
Hughes, Kahryn. 2004. Health as Individual Responsibility: Possibilities and Personal Struggle. – The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, edited by Philip Tovey, Gary Easthope and Jon Adams. New York, NY; London: Routledge, 25–46.
Johnston, Jay. 2010. Subtle Anatomy: The Bio-metaphysics of Alternative Therapies. – International Studies in Religion and Society 11. Medicine, Religion, and the Body, edited by Elizabeth Burns Coleman and Kevin White. Leiden; Boston, MA: Brill, 69–78. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/ej.9789004179707.i-300.28.
Johnston, Jay and Ruth Barcan. 2006. Subtle Transformations: Imagining the Body in Alternative Health Practices. – International Journal of Cultural Studies 9 (1): 25–44. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1367877906061163.
Kelly, Bridget; Robert Hornik, Anca Romantan, J. Sanford Schwartz, Katrina Armstrong, Angela DeMichele, Martin Fishbein, Stacy Gray, Shawnika Hull, Annice Kim, Rebekah Nagler, Jeff Niederdeppe, A. Susana Ramírez, Aaron Smith-McLallen and Norman Wong. 2010. Cancer Information Scanning and Seeking in the General Population. – Journal of Health Communication 15 (7): 734–753. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2010.514029.
Kelner, Merrijoy; Beverly Wellman, Heather Boon and Sandy Welsh. 2004. Responses of Established Healthcare to the Professionalization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Ontario. – Social Science and Medicine (59): 915–930. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2003.12.017.
Keshet, Yael. 2009. The Untenable Boundaries of Biomedical Knowledge: Epistemologies and Rhetoric Strategies in the Debate over Evaluating Complementary and Alternative Medicine. – Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 13 (2): 131–155. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459308099681.
Keshet, Yael. 2013. Dual Embedded Agency: Physicians Implement Integrative Medicine in Health-care Organizations. – Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 17 (6): 605–621. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459312472084.
Koppel, Katre. 2018. “My Dream Is to Bring Together Chinese and Western Medicine”: Why Chinese Medicine Is Making Its Way into Estonian Healthcare. – Curare. Journal of Medical Anthropology 41 (1–2): 63–78.
Koppel, Katre and Marko Uibu. Forthcoming. From Alternative Healing to Holistic Well-Being: Media Representation Analysis of Three Significant Estonian Medical Doctors.
van Leeuwen, Theo. 2008. Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Leung, Shirley; Kylie Chan and Lisa Song. 2006. Publishing Trends in Chinese Medicine and Related Subjects Documented in WorldCat. – Health Information and Libraries Journal 23 (1): 13–22. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2006.00636.x.
Lewis, Monique. 2019. De-legitimising Complementary Medicine: Framings of the Friends of Science in Medicine-CAM Debate in Australian Media Reports. – Sociology of Health and Illness 41: 831–851. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12865.
Lubi, Kadi; Triin Vihalemm and Pille Taba. 2016. Patients’ Interpretation of CAM-Related Information: Manoeuvring Between Patient and Consumer Positionings. – The Power of the Media in Health Communication, edited by Valentina Marinescu and Bianca Mitu. Oxon: Routledge, 73−90. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315554068-6.
Moral-Muñoz, Jose A.; Manuel J. Cobo, E. Peis, Manuel Arroyo-Morales and Enrique Herrera-Viedma. 2014. Analyzing the Research in Integrative and Complementary Medicine by Means of Science Mapping. – Complementary Therapies in Medicine 22 (2): 409−418. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2014.02.003.
Nettleton, Sarah. 2013. The Sociology of Health and Illness. 3rd edn. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Ng, Jeremy Y.; Heather S. Boon, Alison K. Thompson and Cynthia R. Whitehead. 2016. Making Sense of “Alternative”, “Complementary”, “Unconventional” and “Integrative” Medicine: Exploring the Terms and Meanings through a Textual Analysis. – BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 16 (134). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1111-3.
Rojo, Luisa Martin and Teun A. van Dijk. 1997. “There Was a Problem, and It Was Solved!”: Legitimating the Expulsion of ‘Illegal’ Migrants in Spanish Parliamentary Discourse. – Discourse and Society 8 (4): 523–566. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926597008004005.
Schmidt, Josef M. 2009. Is Homeopathy a Science? – Continuity and Clash of Concepts of Science within Holistic Medicine. – Journal of Medical Humanities 30: 83–97. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-009-9080-x.
Takala, Tuomo; Sanja Tanttu, Anna-Maija Lämsä and Aila Virtanen. 2013. Discourses of Charisma: Barack Obama’s First 6 Months as the President of the USA. – Journal of Business Ethics 115: 149–166. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-012-1389-0.
Tikk, Arvo. 2005. Arstid ja alternatiivmeditsiin. – Eesti Arst 84 (4): 294–296.
Titscher, Stefan; Michael Meyer, Ruth Wodak and Eva Vetter. 2000. Methods of Text and Discourse Analysis. London; Thousand Oaks, CA; New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Uibu, Marko. 2016b. Hidden Religiosity in One of the World’s Least Religious Countries: Estonian Doctor Luule Viilma and Her Spiritual Teachings. – Implicit Religion 19 (2): 267–282. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.v19i2.29777.
Uibu, Marko and Katre Koppel. Forthcoming. Beyond Medical Pluralism: Communicative Positioning of Biomedicine and Alternative Medicines in Estonia.
Vaara, Eero. 2014. Struggles over Legitimacy in the Eurozone Crisis: Discursive Legitimation Strategies and Their Ideological Underpinnings. – Discourse and Society 25 (4): 500–518. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926514536962.
Weber, Max. 1978 . Economy and Society. An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Berkeley, CA; Los Angeles, CA; London: University of California Press.
Weeks, Laura; Marja Verhoef and Catherine Scott. 2007. Presenting the Alternative: Cancer and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Canadian Print Media. – Support Care Cancer 15 (8): 931–938. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-007-0290-3.
Weeks, Laura and Tina Strudsholm. 2008. A Scoping Review of Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and the Mass Media: Looking Back, Moving Forward. – BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 8 (43). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-8-43.
Wiese, Marlene and Candice Oster. 2010. ‘Becoming accepted’: The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners’ Response to the Uptake and Practice of Traditional Medicine Therapies by the Mainstream Health. – Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 14 (4): 415–433. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459309359718.
Wiese, Marlene; Candice Oster and Jan Pincombe. 2010. Understanding the Emerging Relationship between Complementary Medicine and Mainstream Health Care: A Review of the Literature. – Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine 14 (3): 326–342. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459309358594.