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Title: The origins and professional development of chiropractic in Britain
Author: Wilson, Francis James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2729 2891
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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In June 2001 the title ‘chiropractor’ came to be protected under British law and those who called themselves chiropractors attained a position of increased legitimacy within British society. Yet the details of chiropractic’s journey to statutory recognition have not been thoroughly explored in contemporary literature. The origins and development of chiropractic in Britain have received meagre attention from historical scholars. This thesis uses a neo-Weberian approach to explore the history of chiropractic in Britain through the lens of ‘professionalisation’. It investigates the emergence of chiropractic in Britain, and details how and why chiropractic developed in the way that it did, assessing the significance of processes and events in respect to chiropractic’s professionalisation, and examining intra- and inter-occupational tensions. The thesis is primarily a product of documentary research, but is also informed by interviews undertaken to provide oral testimonies. Although the origins of chiropractic are usually traced back to the 1890s, to Davenport, Iowa, and to the practice of Daniel David Palmer, it is argued in this thesis that it is misleading to claim that chiropractic was ‘discovered’ by Daniel Palmer, or that chiropractic in Britain was entirely an ‘import’ from the United States. Instead, chiropractic’s origins were complex and multifarious and form part of a broader history of manipulative practices. With regard to the development of chiropractic in Britain, chiropractic’s history is intertwined with that of osteopathy, and has involved medicalisation. This study demonstrates that through the course of its evolution chiropractic was subject to processes that can usefully be described in terms of professionalisation, sharing features in common with the professionalisation of other occupational groups described in historical and sociological literature. Even so, chiropractors did not attain the social presence or cultural authority of archetypal professionals such as medical doctors or lawyers. Although protection of title was achieved, many problems have remained, including divisions within the occupation.
Supervisor: Harris, Bernard J. ; Bolton, Jennifer ; Causer, Gordon Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General) ; RZ Other systems of medicine