Guy Waddell, BA (Hons) BSc (Hons) MNIMH

University of Westminster, Faculty of Science and Technology

PhD project

A MULTI-SITED ETHNOGRAPHY OF THE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES OF MEDICAL HERBALISTS IN THE UK.

The aim of this project is initially broad: to investigate the construction of western herbal medicine practice by herbalists, their patients, the state, biomedicine, professional bodies, herbal medicines, suppliers, training courses and other influences found during the ethnography. A narrower focus will emerge during the fieldwork.

The project will also consider the implication of these findings for the constructive engagement of western herbal medicine practice with imminent statutory regulation.

This project draws on Science and Technology Studies, including Actor-Network Theory, to investigate the construction of knowledge and practices by looking at the organising power of associations. It draws its methods from, and will engage with, medical anthropology, which suggests that all bodies of medical knowledge are dynamic.

Multi-sited ethnography has been chosen as a method to follow people, connections and relationships across space, either physically or via juxtaposition of data.

As both a practitioner and a researcher I am particularly interested in how traditional and modern influences play out in practice and whether this dichotomy is a useful one for understanding and developing practice.

It was stories that drew me into herbal medicine in the first place and I am interested in the relationship between herbalists’ narrative biographies and their practices. I am also interested in how herbal medicines themselves may influence practice.

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