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By G. Nasib. Fairfield University.

Therefore discount super levitra 80mg with mastercard, while using alternative therapies can allow the individual to change their self-perceptions and transform their identities for the better discount super levitra 80mg with amex, these benefits to self can come at the price of acquiring a deviant identity purchase super levitra 80mg with visa. My intent here is not an in-depth examination of the components of the alternative healer identity discount 80 mg super levitra amex. Rather, I am concerned with what motivates these informants to begin, continue, or complete the process of adopting a healer identity. Interested readers should see Boon (1998); Cant and Calnan (1991); and Lowenberg (1992) for analyses of alter- native practitioner identity. Glik’s (1990) characterization of the changes to self experienced by her informants as imagined is problematic. As Thomas and Thomas (1970:154) made plain, “If [people] define situations as real they are real in their consequences. While Lindsey (1996:466) does not identify the source of the beliefs that allowed her informants to find “health within illness” as alternative healing ideology, much of the data she presents in illustrating how her informants describe health are analogous to many of the components which make up the alternative model of health espoused by the people who spoke with me. For example, one woman who took part in her research defined health as “being in control of myself and making my own decisions” (Lindsey 1996:468). CHAPTER SEVEN Using Alternative Therapies: A Deviant Identity The use of alternative therapies as deviant behaviour is neglected as an area of research, despite the fact that people who use so-called unortho- dox therapies have consistently been ridiculed (Johnson 1999; Leech 1999; Miller et al. For example, Hare (1993:40) equates a patient’s disclosure of her use of acupuncture to her doctor with the Catholic confessional, and the use of alternative therapies with a sin that must be absolved: “She is confessing to her physician who absolves her, even confessing his own foray into the domain of the ‘other. My focus here is on the means used by informants to reduce the stigma associated with their participation in alternative approaches to health and healing. In addition to describing the use of perennial methods of coping with stigma, such as managing disclosure and using humour (Davis 1961; Goffman 1963), I analyse informants’ use of accounts as a technique of stigma management (Scott and Lyman 1981). In particular, I reflect on their use of retrospective reinterpretation of biography employed in their accounts of their participation in alternative therapies. One’s self-defined biography is neither static nor fixed; rather, as Goffman (1963:62) points out, a salient feature of biographies is that they “are very subject to retrospective construction. As we remember the past, we reconstruct it in accordance with our present ideas of what is important and what is not. In Scott and Lyman’s (1981:357) words: “Every account is a manifestation of the under- lying negotiation of identities,” and is no less so in negotiating deviant identities (emphasis theirs). According to Scott and Lyman (1981:343–344), “An account is a linguistic device employed whenever an action is sub- jected to valuative inquiry.... A statement made by a social actor to explain unanticipated or untoward behavior. These categories differ in that justifications are accounts in which the actor “accepts responsibility for the act... For Scott and Lyman (1981:348) the crucial distinction between excuses and justifications is that in the former case the individual accepts that the behaviour in question is wrong, while in the latter case he or she “asserts its positive value in the face of a claim to the contrary. Self-fulfillment accounts justify behaviour through the rationale that the act is not wrong if it corresponds with the actor’s notion of what is necessary to his or her self-fulfillment, whereas “The sad tale is a selected (often distorted) arrangement of facts that highlight an extremely dismal past, and thus explain the individual’s present state” (Scott and Lyman 1981:349). Below, Using Alternative Therapies: A Deviant Identity | 97 I critically apply Scott and Lyman’s (1981) notions of justifications and excuses, as well as Sykes and Matza’s (1957) techniques of neutralization, in analysing informants’ accounts of their experiences with alternative therapies. Further, I argue that the concept of retrospective reinterpretation of biographies can also be used to shed new light on how people who use alternative therapies reduce the stigma associated with their participation in alternative forms of health care. ALTERNATIVE THERAPY USE AS DEVIANT BEHAVIOUR The language used in the literature to describe alternative therapies has been and remains largely derogatory and pejorative. For example, consistently and over time, alternative therapies have been styled unconventional, nonconventional, unorthodox (Dunfield 1996); unscientific and unproven (Feigen and Tiver 1986); “fuzzy stuff” (Monson 1995:170); or “deviant forms of health service” (Cassee 1970:391). One extreme example concerns Leech’s (1999:1) pronouncement that alternative therapies are “snake oil [which] belongs in the last century, not this or the next. For example, while she uses the term alternative medicine, Monson (1995:168) refers to allopathic health care as “proper orthodox medicine,” implying that alternative therapies are unorthodox and improper.

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