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Title: Chinese medicine
Author: Hsu, E. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1992
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This thesis explores ways in which the style of transmission is related to the contents of knowledge and practice. Chinese medicine has been legitimised and promoted by the government since the 1950s. Its transmission in government units is modelled on that of Western biomedicine. By analysing textbooks, I show ways in which, over the past thirty years, an attempt has been made to standardise the different strands of Chinese medical knowledge, and I refer to it as 'standardised knowledge'. This textbook knowledge conforms to Western biomedical systematisation, a materialist and static view of processes, and the ideology of Marxist dialectics. In settings outside the government work units Chinese therapeutic knowledge and practice has also been modified by Western thought and medicine, but not as systematically. Here, one still finds ways of learning which depend on the personal quality in the relationship between master and disciple. And here, the transmission of Chinese therapeutic knowledge is often veiled in secrecy. The comparison of these different tastes of knowing and healing aims to put the present standardisation of Chinese medicine into context and by highlighting qualities of knowing and healing in other settings of Chinese therapeutics, it points to the limitations of standardising medical knowledge and practice. Chapter One contributes to topics such as Socialist work units (danwei), post-Mao higher education, and curricula in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Chapter Two discusses a 'senior doctor's (laozhongyi) understanding of notions such as Experience (jingyan) and 'science' (kexue). Chapter Three contains case histories of qigong healing, and deals with topics such as voluntary associations and secrecy. Chapter Four contains a translation of Suwen 43 'On Obstructions' and discusses concepts of illness in qigong healing and Chinese medicine, with particular emphasis on Breath (qi). Chapter Five contains a translation of parts of Suwen 66 'The Rules of the Origins of Heaven' and discusses interpretations of concepts such as Change (bain, hua) and the Spirits (shen). Chapter Six discusses the textbook TCM Fundamentals and its precursors, and highlights how the understanding of concepts discussed in previous chapters has recently been transformed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available