Medical pluralism during and after socialism : a study of psychotronics in the former Czechoslovakia
The term “medical pluralism” is often used to describe the coexistence of different medical traditions based on different principles or worldviews in a society. The paper starts with a discussion on the concept of medical pluralism, introduced for the first time by Charles M. Leslie, then presents a theoretical framework of the exclusive medical model, which recognizes only one legal system of medicine. The author then considers folk medicine and psychotronic activities, as well as describes and analyses the healthcare situation that existed during the socialist period in former Czechoslovakia, which at a first sight seems to have been characterized as a monopoly concerning the practice of medicine, and compares it with the contemporary pluralistic situation that emerged in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia after the “Velvet Divorce” in 1993. The paper concludes by stating that government attitudes toward the existence of non-biomedical practices have undergone different development stages. In turn, it is acknowledged that the investigation of medical pluralism in Central European countries must deal more comprehensively with political and ideological history in the context of healthcare.