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Capturing Quicksilver: The Position, Power, and Plasticity of Chinese Medicine in Singapore

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Volume 17

Epistemologies of Healing

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Capturing Quicksilver

The Position, Power, and Plasticity of Chinese Medicine in Singapore

Arielle A. Smith

324 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-794-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (May 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-795-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“[This book} suggests that we should carefully examine the position of Chinese medicine in China, especially to notice its potentially unequal power relations with nationality medicine. In doing so, critical medical anthropology has the potential to overstep the medical domain and contribute to the broader discussion of ethnicity, nationalism, and post-colonial theory. In this sense, this book is also highly recommended for anyone interested in Southeast Asian society and the study of overseas Chinese more generally.” •

“Lucid and beautifully written… A refreshing look at Chinese medicine and ‘medicine’ more broadly speaking.” • Mei Zhan, University of California, Irvine


Since the turn of the century Singapore has sustained a reputation for both austere governance and cutting-edge biomedical facilities and research. Seeking to emphasize Singapore’s capacity for “modern medicine” and strengthen their burgeoning biopharmaceutical industry, this image has explicitly excluded Chinese medicine – despite its tremendous popularity amongst Singaporeans from all walks of life, and particularly amongst Singapore’s ethnic Chinese majority. This book examines the use and practice of Chinese medicine in Singapore, especially in everyday life, and contributes to anthropological debates regarding the post-colonial intersection of knowledge, identity, and governmentality, and to transnational studies of Chinese medicine as a permeable, plural, and fluid practice.

Arielle A. Smith completed her doctorate and postgraduate teaching in medical anthropology at the University of Oxford (2004-2010). She subsequently taught at the University of Montana (2011-2012) and as traveling faculty for International Honors Program/SIT (2012-2014). Most recently, she conducted postdoctoral research at Cermes3 (a joint unit of CNRS, EHESS, and Inserm) in Paris (2015), and preliminary research on anthropological reflexivity and tribal health/ healing in the USA (2016 to date).

Subject: Medical AnthropologyAnthropology (General)
Area: Asia-Pacific


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