Skip to main content

Misdirection and the Regulation of Herbalism in France and England

Cloatre, Emilie, Urquiza-Haas, Nayeli (2022) Misdirection and the Regulation of Herbalism in France and England. Science & Technology Studies, 35 (2). pp. 30-51. ISSN 2243-4690. E-ISSN 2243-4690. (doi:10.23987/sts.110353) (KAR id:94080)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

DOI for this version: 10.23987/sts.110353

Click to download this file (182kB)
[thumbnail of N. Urquiza-Haas - Misdirection and teh REgulation of Herbalism in France and England.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only

Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of Cloatre_Urquiza-Haas.FINAL.pdf]
Official URL:


In this paper, we propose to explore how the regulation of herbalism, in France and in England, rests on series of ‘misdirections,’ with the coexistence of law and herbalism depending on multiple magical illusions. Attempts to regulate herbalists, and the responses they invite, involve multiple sleights of hands both by the law and by herbalists. Herbalists perform misdirections to maintain an illusion of legality, even where they bend legal rules that they deem incompatible with their practice. But far from being the only, or even the most effective, tricksters, herbalists are only one set of performers in a more complex layering of legal illusions. The regulatory and legal infrastructure itself relies on misdirections enacted through everyday legal procedures that trick the general public into believing that the law is ‘acting’ to protect vulnerable consumers from dangerous healers and their medicines, while the effects of its actions may be to tolerate or indeed produce zones of illegal, or ‘barely legal,’ practices. At the same time, this performance is enabled by playing a disappearing act, in which the knowledge of herbalists, and the demands of their users, are disappeared behind the screen of apparent legal protection. Drawing attention away from competing claims to knowledge, and towards its protective intervention, the legal system thereby embeds misdirections of its own kind.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.23987/sts.110353
Additional information: This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number 200380/Z/15/Z]. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: Herbalism, legalities, misdirections, science and law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: Wellcome Trust (
Depositing User: Nayeli Urquiza
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 09:30 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2022 12:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cloatre, Emilie:
Urquiza-Haas, Nayeli:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.