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Wed, 05 Apr

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HO1.73 - Ourimbah Campus

The Salutogenic Gaze: Theorising the Practitioner Role in Complementary and Alternative Medicine Consultations

Presented by Caragh Brosnan

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The Salutogenic Gaze: Theorising the Practitioner Role in Complementary and  Alternative Medicine Consultations
The Salutogenic Gaze: Theorising the Practitioner Role in Complementary and  Alternative Medicine Consultations

Time & Location

05 Apr 2023, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

HO1.73 - Ourimbah Campus, 10 Chittaway Rd, Ourimbah NSW 2258, Australia

About the event

Abstract 

Research on why people use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) shows they

value the CAM consultation, where they feel listened to and empowered to control their own 

health. Such ‘empowerment’ through CAM use is often theorised as reflecting wider 

neoliberal imperatives of self-responsibility. CAM users’ perspectives are well-studied, but 

there has been little analysis of interactions within the CAM consultation. Specifically, it is 

unclear how user empowerment/self-knowledge relates to the CAM practitioner’s power and 

expert knowledge. This paper uses data from audio-recorded consultations and interviews 

with CAM practitioners to examine knowledge use in client-practitioner interactions. 

Drawing on Foucault and Antonovsky, it introduces the concept of the ‘salutogenic gaze’ to 

describe the role of power/knowledge in the CAM practitioner-client dyad. The salutogenic

gaze operates in the CAM consultation with disciplining and productive effects oriented 

towards health promotion. Because the gaze is ultimately transferred from practitioner to 

client, it empowers CAM users while reinforcing the practitioner’s power as health expert.

Bio

Caragh Brosnan is Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities, Creative 

Industries and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle, researching health, the 

professions and contested knowledge.

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