Therapeutic landscapes and postcolonial theory: A theoretical approach to medical tourism

Christine N. Buzinde, Careen Yarnal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


This paper draws on two conceptual frameworks, therapeutic landscapes and postcolonial theory, to discuss aspects of medical tourism not addressed in extant literature. Building on the intersection between postcolonial and therapeutic landscapes scholarship, it highlights inequalities related to the production of national therapeutic landscapes located in postcolonial regions as well as their discursive (re)positioning as medical tourism destinations. As a framework, therapeutic landscapes can facilitate an understanding of medical tourism sites as curative spaces which combine modern and alternative forms of medicine with travel and leisure. Postcolonial theory critiques the economic, moral and cultural tensions emerging from the intersection between corporations that provide cheaper and more attractive medical services, and the nations on the periphery struggling to offer high medical standards that may not be accessible to their own local populations. In an effort to enhance scholarship on medical tourism, these conceptual frameworks are offered as points of departure, rather than sites of arrival, through which critical dialog on medical tourism can be sustained and broadened.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-787
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Medical tourism
  • Postcolonial theory
  • Power
  • Therapeutic landscapes
  • Tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapeutic landscapes and postcolonial theory: A theoretical approach to medical tourism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this