Ciocănel [Abstract]

“A remedy that suits me”: Classification of people and individualization in homeopathic prescribing
[Full text]

Alexandra Ciocănel [1]

Abstract: In contrast with a conventional medical consultation, a “classical” homeopathic case taking usually ends up with the prescription of a remedy and not with a biomedical diagnostic, reflecting a specific homeopathic conceptualization of the human body, health and disease. This may be seen as one aspect of individualization in homeopathy, the approach through which the patient is not placed into a disease class but in which her/his unique features are taken into account when matching the symptoms with the symptomspicture of a remedy, the “similimum”. In this paper, I examine the double orientation of homeopathic prescribing to individualization and classification. Drawing upon textual analysis of descriptions of remedies, interviews with patients and homeopaths, and observation of consultations and seminars, I show that individualization and classification are counterparts that cannot be meaningfully discussed if considered independently. My approach is based on treatment of the various encounters of patients and homeopaths as rhetorical situations. I argue that during the homeopathic consultation a process of construction and interpellation of the patient happens through various rhetorical moves. By examining them, I show how a sort of literature effect and a specific way of organizing knowledge in homeopathy simultaneously make the general to act on the particular while the particular or a sense of “it is about you” is also accomplished during the homeopathic consultation.

Keywords: Classification, individualization, homeopathy, rhetorical situation, literature effect

[1] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, Romania,