(Re)placing health and health care: Mapping the competing discourses and practices of 'traditional' and 'modern' Thai medicine

Vincent J. Del Casino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In the wake of the AIDS crisis, 'traditional' Thai medicine has received new attention as a means by which people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) can receive some level of care. The revitalization of Thai medicine, however, is complicated by the competing organizational politics and social dynamics that regulate discourses and practices of health and health care in Thailand. This paper examines how Thai medicine is being (re)placed in the context of competing health-care systems and practices. Specifically, this analysis focuses on the complex interrelationships between 'traditional,' holistic medicine and 'modern,' allopathic medicine in a Thai context; and investigates the role of 'Thai medicine' (phaet phaen thai) and 'village medicine' (phaet pheun baan) as part of governmental and non-governmental efforts to provide health care to PLWHA in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The provisioning of such health care, however, takes place within the context of a struggle over 'local knowledge' and 'global change' and the ways in which places are organized in relation to the available treatment regimens for HIV/AIDS care. What this paper suggests is that the meanings of health and health care are inextricably linked to the complex, contested nature of social relations as they flow in, and are reworked through, particular places.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalHealth and Place
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Health-care geographies
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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