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Health, Knowledge and Expertise

This project analyzes the criticism of biomedicine related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and vaccine-criticism in Finland. We combine sociological and historical perspectives, responding to the social and political need to understand these phenomena and the criticism of biomedical expertise in general as processes that are deeply historical and cultural.

We examine:

  • Why do people use CAM treatments or have critical attitudes towards vaccination?
  • What kinds of discussions and conflicts related to CAM treatments and vaccines are present within the biomedical field?
  • What kind of knowledges are mobilized in criticism of biomedicine both within the medical community and outside of it?
  • How has the critique of biomedicine related to CAM treatments and vaccines changed and developed in Finland since the early 1900s?

The project is a collaboration of the Department of Social Research, University of Turku, and the Research Centre for Knowledge, Science, Technology and Innovations Studies, Tampere University. It is funded by Emil Aaltonen Foundation.

The project is led by:

Johanna Nurmi                                Pia Vuolanto
Dr. soc. sci.                                              Dr. soc. sci., docent
johnurm(a)                                   pia.Vuolanto(a)
tel. +358 29 450 3081                           tel. +358 50 3186240

Project members:

Suvi Rytty                                          Tiina Väänänen
M.A.                                                         M. Health Sc.
suvi.rytty(a)                                  tiina.a.vaananen(a)
tel. +358 500 764350


Vuolanto, Pia & Kolehmainen, Marjo (2020). Gendered Boundary-work within the Finnish skepticism movement. Science, Technology & Human Values.

Vuolanto, Pia, Bergroth, Harley, Nurmi, Johanna, & Salmenniemi, Suvi (2020). Reconfiguring health knowledges? Contemporary modes of self-care as ‘everyday fringe medicine’. PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE, 29(5), 508-523.

Brodin Danell Jenny-Ann, Danell Rikard, Vuolanto Pia. (2019). Scandinavian research on complementary and alternative medicine: A bibliometric study. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

Brosnan Caragh, Vuolanto Pia, Brodin Danell Jenny-Ann (eds.). (2018). Complementary and Alternative Medicine : Knowledge Production and Social Transformation. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. download flyer

Vuolanto, P., Sorsa, M., Aarva, P., Helin, K. A review of Finnish CAM research. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen aikakauslehti – Journal of Social Medicine 2018: 55: 243–259.