This thesis focuses on a communal form of transmission of Chinese medicine in contemporary Taiwan: Chinese medicine university student clubs. Offering fundamental Chinese medicine curricula to students and the interested public, the student clubs used to serve as a direct educational steppingstone towards licensed practice. Recent changes in medical education policy, however, made a university degree in Chinese medicine a requirement, thereby pushing informal ways of knowledge transmission into the realm of lay activity. Nevertheless, the clubs remain active and still serve as a community for people interested in Chinese medicine, including those wanting to pursue it professionally.
Based on field research conducted in two such university clubs in Taipei in early 2018, this thesis first outlines the challenges and tensions faced and negotiated by those club members with professional ambitions. Not (yet) enrolled in “official” Chinese medicine programs at university but already deeply engaged in learning, they constitute a group of people rarely represented in academic literature, namely those just orienting themselves towards becoming Chinese medicine physicians. These processes of orientation and becoming are shaped by organizational, economic, and epistemological pressures and embedded in transnational movements, imaginaries, and regulatory regimes.
Secondly, the thesis examines the function and position of the clubs in the changing landscape of Chinese medical education in Taiwan, as well as in the wider field of transmission of Chinese medicine. I argue that they foster continued interest in Chinese medicine in an environment that has favored biomedicine since the Japanese colonial era and that they, although through paths more winded than before, still contribute to the reproduction of professional Chinese medical expertise. In addition, they provide space for communal forms of healthcare. Lastly, they contribute to the maintenance of everyday healthcare competence in the wider public, or what Arthur Kleinman (1980) has called the “popular sector of healthcare.”
science and technology studies
300 Sozialwissenschaften::300 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie::301 Soziologie, Anthropologie
Chinese Medicine Student Clubs in Taipei, Taiwan
Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften
Institut für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie / Arbeitsstelle Medizinethnologie