The Making of ‘Traditional Medicine’

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45. The Making of ‘Traditional Medicine’: A History of Vietnam’s Medical Policies. 

By ODA, Nara

Publication Date: March 2022
Publisher: Kyoto University Press




Based on historical materials and interviews, this book explores how and why traditional medicine was integrated into Vietnam’s medical system throughout the French colonial period, the independence period after 1945 in the North, the period of the north-south division, the modern era after unification in 1976, and after Doi Moi. How did Vietnam’s modern state incorporate medical knowledge into its institutions amid the nation-state’s independence, division, and unification? How did medical practitioners experience such incorporation? This book depicts the dynamism of official “traditional medicine,” contrasting the state narrative that the “national tradition” has been maintained and protected despite the country’s long history of war and struggle. At the same time, it reveals the changes in the concept of traditional Vietnamese medicine by presenting the complex picture of what is “traditional” in the context of various power relations, the politics of the meaning, and actual therapeutic practices.