Medical Misinformation and Social Harm in Non-Science Based Health Practices: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

1st Edition

Anita Lavorgna, Anna Di Ronco

November 4, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 216 Pages
ISBN 9781138388666 - CAT# K399370
Series: Routledge Studies in Crime and Society

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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.

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