Alternative and Bio-Medicine in Israel: Boundaries and Bridges

Alternative and Bio-Medicine in Israel: Boundaries and Bridges

72.00

Emma Averbuch & Judith Shuval

Series: Israel: Society, Culture, and History
ISBN: 9781936235865 (hardcover)
Pages: 290 pp.
Publication Date: January 2012

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This book explores the macro and micro social contexts in which alternative and bio-medicine co-exist in Israel. It includes a history of alternative health care in Israel and analysis of current policies and dilemmas regarding different forms of health care, and provides an in-depth analysis of medical professionals who have added alternative health care to their repertoire of professional skills in their practice settings in hospitals and community clinics. The heterogeneity of patient populations in Israel makes it possible to explore attitudes of different cultural groups toward alternative health care. These include Jewish immigrants from different countries as well as Bedouin and other Arab groups. Since alternative medicine is a growing part of the overall health care system in many countries, the book provides insights gained from the Israeli experience regarding its co-existence along with conventional medicine—to a broad spectrum of health professionals, policy makers and laypersons.


Emma Averbuch (PhD Hebrew University) teaches sociology of health in the Braun School of Public Health, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem. She coordinates activities regarding coping with inequality in health at the Israel Ministry of Health.

Judith Shuval (PhD Harvard University) is professor emerita at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she holds the Rose Chair in the Sociology of Health. She has served as chair of the Israel Sociological Association, as a member of the Executive Committee of the European Society for Medical Sociology, on the executive committee of the Research Committee on the Sociology of Health of the International Sociological Association, and on the editorial board of Social Science and Medicine and Sociology of Health and Illness. Her publications include Social Dimensions of Health: The Israeli Experience and Immigrant Physicians: Former Soviet Doctors in Israel, Canada, and the United States.


An impressive new English-language book, written by a veteran Hebrew University professor (emerita) of sociology and a young HU researcher with a newly minted doctorate in the field, is the result of a decade of joint research. Titled Alternative and Bio-Medicine in Israel: Boundaries and Bridges, the volume does not judge whether CAM is effective or has been proven by scientific evidence. Instead, Prof. Judith Shuval and Dr. Emma Averbuch – supplemented by nine academic contributors – provides a fascinating historical analysis of CAM in pre-state and contemporary Israel. It is also a formidable examination of how CAM is carried out by physicians and those without formal medical credentials; the cultural and political context; conflicts and partnerships; and recommendations of where to go in the future.
— Judy Siegel-Itzkovioch, The Jerusalem Post, April 29, 2012
No authors are better positioned than Shuval and Averbach to explore the boundaries and bridges between alternative and biomedicine. They have spent over ten years examining the ways in which these two disparate forms of health care have managed to co-exist in Israel. With a solid theoretical framework and historical perspective, the book explores the diverse forms of co-existence that have emerged in their country between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and the biomedical model. These include studies of nurses and midwives practicing CAM, as well as physicians who regularly incorporate it into their treatments. Other Israeli colleagues contribute significantly to the empirical research. The book will be a critical source for scholars seeking to understand the social processes underlying the current challenges to the previous dominance of the medical profession and the transformation of the health care system.
— Merrijoy Kelner