From “Unbelievable Stupidity” to “Secret Clues for Staying Healthy”: CAM Landscape and Boundary-Work in Estonian and Finnish Mainstream Media in April 2020

Reet Hiiemäe, Terhi Utriainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Abstract: Based on a one-month (April 2020) comparative observation of media
content in three Estonian and three Finnish mainstream media sources (two daily
newspapers and one weekly women’s magazine) along with some examples from
an earlier period, the authors analysed the representation of complementary and
alternative medicine (CAM) in the media. The analysis showed that the media
from the two countries presented CAM both in its various mainstream and more
fringe forms, and that pejorative as well as complimentary and attracting under-
tones were present. The authors conclude that CAM topics were present in the
selection of sources as methods for wellbeing and healing but also as entertaining,exoticising, warning, and mystical-metaphorical allusions along with different
levels of boundary-work, especially science. The authors also noted interesting
differences between the chosen media both within one country and between the
two countries in terms of how much CAM was present as well as in which ways
it was treated. In the Estonian material, the scale of tones was broader: the texts
presented highly sensational, exoticising and othering angles towards approaches
that were considered extreme and dangerous but mainly entertainment-oriented,
and they positively described healing and wellbeing practices, sometimes with
a mystic touch. The Finnish media was more low-key in its representations and
tone: the mentions were shorter and less frequent. Although the Finnish mate-
rial had more positive representations, this does not suggest that CAM is more
tolerated in Finland – the Finnish media presented less extreme forms of CAM,
which gave less ground for journalistic opposition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFolklore
Volume82
Pages (from-to)183-214
ISSN1406-0957
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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