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Mikhail Dobrovol'skiy   1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Modernity and Personal Identity: Patient’s Construct in Holistic Medicine (Homeopathy’s Case)

2018, vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 192–212 [issue contents]
The uncertainty of personal identity is traditionally mentioned among the most fundamental concepts of modernity. This paper focuses on the typical ways in which this idea is constructed by conventional everyday practices. A particular form of holistic medicine known as homeopathy was chosen as the object of the research. Texts written by influential authors related to the homeopathic milieu were used as the most important sources. As it can be seen, modern homeopaths reinvented the classical tradition by putting the unique individual features of a patient at the center of the treatment. They search for some special matter or “central delusion” which hides the person’s individuality. The personal construct of a modern human being, for example, a strong person who defends their personal boundaries and seeks their identity is put to use to describe new homeopathic remedies. As a result, the concept of “new remedies for new people” comes into existence. Furthermore, homeopaths transfer traditional cultural attributes of substances which are used to produce remedies to the remedies themselves. The success of new remedies symbolically lets homeopaths test new identities. Such an approach carries an important therapeutic function and helps a person of “liquid modernity” living in a condition of uncertainty of their personal identity and suffering from the state of “existential isolation” (Giddens, 1991) to make their live more harmonic and balanced.
Citation: Dobrovol'skiy M. (2018) Personal'naya identichnost' v epokhu moderna: konstrukt patsienta v kholisticheskoy meditsine na primere gomeopaticheskogo metoda [Modernity and Personal Identity: Patient’s Construct in Holistic Medicine (Homeopathy’s Case)]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 1, pp. 192-212 (in Russian)
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