The ideology and organization of the non-orthodox cancer therapy movement are analyzed as social constructions in an area of professional ambiguity and failure. The movement articulates, integrates, and orders the personally and socially disabling consequences of health care failure in cancer. The protest activities of the movement are characterized by political opposition to medical "orthodoxy" and "monopoly." The challenges of the non-orthodox movement are generally ineffective, non-legitimated, or coopted. Yet, in providing conceptual and organizational frames for the disordering consequences of medical failure and in establishing a politically polarized deviant position in relation to conventional practice, this movement socially organizes and isolates various problems in cancer health care that threaten the institutional dominance of professional medicine. The emergence of this movement is discussed as an illustration of the social organization and management of crisis.

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