A Multidisciplinary Perspective
A Multidisciplinary Perspective
Medical approaches and treatments developed outside science-based medicine are often the object of highly polarised debates, with "believers" and "sceptics" presenting arguments for or against their legitimacy and effectiveness. While some complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) might be beneficial to individuals’ physical, psychological and spiritual needs, many forms of non-science-based treatments and approaches can be dangerous and greatly harmful to people’s health. With very few exceptions, relative little attention has been paid in the social sciences to the topic of misleading medical information and specifically of CAM-adjacent health scams and their harms to people. Criminology in particular should be very concerned with the study of these practices and be at the forefront of the interdisciplinary scientific debate, as some of these approaches are leading to great social harms, with serious repercussions both on the health of people and on their confidence in the medical profession and the scientific method.
This book brings together contributions of international academics from criminology, digital sociology, health psychology, medicine, law, physics, and journalism. It is the first book to reconcile different scientific understandings of these practices, exploring the challenges, implications and potential remedies to the spread of dangerous fraudulent information. It covers a range of topics, including the history of fraudulent "alternative" health practices and the public understanding of science, case studies on specific frauds and their harms, offenders’ behaviours, media studies, web science analyses on the role of cyberspace as a facilitator of the spread of potentially dangerous information, and debunking practices. It is essential reading for scholars across criminology, sociology and health studies.
1. Introduction Anita Lavorgna and Anna Di Ronco; 2. Towards a better criminological understanding of harmful alternative health practices: a provider typology Anita Lavorgna and Heather Horsburgh; 3.Science denial: psychological processes underlying denial of science-based medical practices Sara Prot and Craig A Anderson; 4. Understanding the demand for illicit lifestyle medicines online: an analysis of the risk perception of consumers Rosa Koenraadt; 5. ‘First do no harm': exploring non-evidence-based practices within the Ukrainian health sector Anna Markovska, Ganna Isayeva, and Sergyi Ostropolets; 6: ‘Don’t trust the experts!’: Analysing the use of populist rhetoric in the anti-vaxxers discourse in Italy Ester Massa; 7: Quantum physics and the modern trends in pseudoscience Enrico Gazzola; 8: Who are the experts? Examining the online promotion of misleading and harmful nutrition information Heather Horsburgh and David Barron; 9: Activism against medicine on social media: untangling the #novax protest in Italy on Twitter Anna Di Ronco and James Allen-Robertson; 10: Traditional herbal medicine and the challenges of pharmacovigilance Nayeli Urquiza Haas and Emilie Cloatre; 11: Framing of CAM-adjacent health scams in the UK media: an interdisciplinary perspective Anita Lavorgna and Felicity L Bishop; 12: Dossier Hamer: the role of investigative journalism in exposing pseudomedicine Ilario D’Amato; 13: Concluding thoughts Anita Lavorgna and Anna Di Ronco