Published Papers - Abstract 573

Broom A, Meurk C, Adams J & Sibbritt D My health, my responsibility? Complementary medicine and self (health) care. Journal of Sociology, 2014; 504: 515-530

People are increasingly compelled to take responsibility for their own health and illness trajectories. The existing literature on what may be termed self-care points to the ways that public health initiatives have instigated the transfer of governance onto the individual through campaigns promoting physical activity, diet and other forms of self-care. Meanwhile, cultural trends towards self (health) care may have been enhanced and/or transformed by the increased prominence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) which often include a focus on self-determination and self-responsibility for achieving health and wellbeing. This paper examines women’s contemporary self-care practices and the logics underpinning their approaches to health, illness and healing. Our findings show that although these women were often positive about the prospects of being autonomous decision makers, their search for alternatives and practices of self (health) care can be problematic in certain cases and may also be viewed as reproducing neoliberal forms of governance and their derivative inequalities.