Saturday, 30 September 2017

Identity in a medicine cabinet: Discursive positions of Andean migrants towards their use of herbal remedies in the United Kingdom

Soc Sci Med. 2017 Mar;177:43-51. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.01.026. Epub 2017 Jan 19. Ceuterick M1, Vandebroek I2. Author information 1 Division of Pharmacy Practice, University of Bradford, Richmond Building, Richmond Road, Bradford BD7 1DP, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Electronic address: 2 The New York Botanical Garden, Institute of Economic Botany, 2900 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, New York 10458, USA; Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; Biology PhD Program, Graduate Center, The City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA. Abstract This study explores different rationales for using herbal remedies among people from Andean descent in the United Kingdom, using positioning theory as a conceptual framework. By analysing processes of positioning in narratives about healthcare choices conducted with 40 Bolivian and Peruvian migrants in London (between 2005 and 2009), we examine in which ways talking about personal preferences for herbal medicine can be constitutive of one's health identity. The results reveal three distinct discursive repertoires that frame the use of herbal remedies either as a tradition, a health-conscious consumer choice, or as a coping strategy, each allowing specific health identity outcomes. An enhanced understanding of how people make sense of their use of traditional, plant-based medicines enables healthcare professionals to better assist patients in making meaningful decisions about their health. Through illustrating how treatment choices are discursively linked with identity, the present results debunk the tendency to perceive patients with a migration background as one homogenous group and thus urge for a patient centred approach. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Andean migrants; Discourse analysis; Health identity; Herbal remedies; London (United Kingdom); Positioning theory PMID: 28157568 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.01.026