Boundary at work: Alternative medicine in biomedical settings

Nissim Mizrachi*, Judith T. Shuval, Sky Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study explores the process of boundary demarcation within hospital settings by examining a new phenomenon in modern medicine: collaboration between alternative and biomedical practitioners (primarily physicians) working together in biomedical settings. The study uses qualitative methods to examine the nature of this collaboration by calling attention to the ways in which the biomedical profession manages to secure its boundaries and to protect its hard-core professional knowledge. It identifies the processes of exclusion and marginalization as the main mechanisms by which symbolic boundaries are marked daily in the professional field. These processes enable the biomedical profession to contain its competitors and at the same time to avoid overt confrontations and mitigate potential tensions between the two medical systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-43
Number of pages24
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Alternative medicine
  • Boundaries
  • Demarcation
  • Exclusion
  • Field
  • Marginalization


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