Pratiques et organisation des services de santé
Pratiques et organisation des services de santé
Politiques, interventions et expertises en santé publique
Appel à contribution pluridisciplinaire sur :
Quelles transformations des bureaucraties sociales ?
Pour le numéro d’avril-juin 2022 de la RFAS
Le dossier sera coordonné par :
Marianne Berthod-Wurmser, Christine Le Clainche (Université de Lille) et Jean-Luc Outin (Mire)
Cet appel à contribution s’adresse aux chercheurs en économie, gestion, sociologie, science politique, philosophie, droit, géographie, démographie, anthropologie, ainsi qu’aux acteurs du champ sanitaire et médico-social.
Les articles sont attendus avant le jeudi 4 novembre 2021
Marianne Berthod, Christine Le Clainche, Séverine Mayol, Jean-Luc Outin
Compte-rendu de la première séance du séminaire organisée le 12 janvier 2021 : « Observation du secteur sanitaire et social : y a-t-il des facteurs favorables au développement d’une organisation bureaucratique dans le secteur sanitaire et social ? »
Ce séminaire en trois séances vise à préparer un appel à contribution pour la publication d’un numéro thématique de la Revue française des affaires sociales. Cette première séance a rassemblé une soixantaine d’auditeurs grâce aux outils de visioconférence. Aurore Lambert, secrétaire générale, ouvre la séance en rappelant tout l’intérêt de la revue pour ces questionnements et présente le calendrier prévisionnel de préparation du dossier thématique :
Multidisciplinary call for papers on:
For the October-December 2021 issue of RFAS
The dossier will be coordinated by:
Maud Gelly (CRESPPA-CSU),
Joseph Hivert (IRIS-University of Lausanne)
and Alexis Spire (IRIS)
This call for papers is aimed at researchers in sociology, political science, economics, management, law, geography, demography, anthropology, and public health, as well as stakeholders in the fields of health and social medicine.
The deadline for submission is Monday 26 April 2021.
“The best way to relieve our hospitals is to avoid getting sick”. These words, which Prime Minister Jean Castex pronounced a few days before the second lockdown was announced, sum up the line of thought that led the government to suddenly restrict movement and activity in the name of public health. These unprecedented measures, the social, economic and health consequences of which are as yet incalculable, were justified by the need to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by a new influx of patients. In March 2020, and to a lesser extent in October 2020, the “Plan blanc” (“white plan”) also led to the cancellation of the vast majority of scheduled surgical operations, consultations and hospitalizations. While the intention was to free hospital beds and staff to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic, this came at a great cost for other patients, whose healthcare was postponed. The narratives in which hospital staff stand united in the fight against the epidemic and the government is willing to pull all stops to prevent them from having to “sort the sick” are fantasy. This dossier will shed light on the social, political and organizational factors that led a public service – the hospital system – to a point where it was no longer able to meet its users’ needs.
The dossier, to be published in the fourth issue of Revue française des affaires sociales (RFAS) of 2021, will focus entirely on reforms affecting hospitals, and the crises and forms of resistance they have generated. This reflection on change in hospitals will allow for comprehensive cross-analysis of all efforts to handle the epidemic and of care workers’ ways of adapting to them (by prioritizing activities, reorganizing services, changing task distribution, etc.). Articles will be based on qualitative and/or quantitative empirical material from research that shed light on changes in hospital structures before or after the epidemic broke out. Contributions comparing crises, reforms and mobilization in public hospitals, with those occurring in other public services are welcome, as are historical or international comparisons.
Like many other state institutions, the public hospital system has been undergoing a series of reforms for several years now, with an aim to reduce costs and rationalize activity. In addition to the technical and managerial measures which culminated in the introduction of Tarification à l’activité (T2A, procedure-based pricing), this first line of inquiry will specifically focus on the socially differentiated effects of these reforms, on the work of different categories of hospital staff.
One of the numerous policies implemented has led to many organizational changes: the development of outpatient care, that is, the provision of medical or surgical care outside the traditional framework of full hospitalization. What is now known as the “outpatient turn” consists in reorganizing institutions and their departments in such a way as to shorten patients’ stays in hospital and increase the proportion of medical care and services provided outside of hospitals. While these reforms are designed to respond to financial imperatives (reducing costs) by redirecting part of hospitals’ workload towards ambulatory medicine – their proponents also emphasize the advantages of increasing fluidity in the movement of patients from one professional area to another and reducing exposure to the risks of nosocomial diseases. It would be interesting to explore the effects of this shift on the working conditions of hospital staff, which are already particularly difficult. The consequences of recent reforms on the roles and positions of managerial staff, on the emergence of new positions (bed managers and consultants), and on the balance of power between hospital services also warrant analysis. The logic of concentrating resources on activities considered to be profitable may result in significant disparities in investment when it comes to tasks, training and recruitment. How does this affect hospital hierarchies and competition between departments (and their heads) to obtain the patients best suited for short stays? The consequences of this shift can also be measured in terms of the gendered division of labour in hospitals: secretaries, nursing auxiliaries and nurses, most of whom are women, often end up having to discreetly cover up the institution’s shortcomings, thus allowing those who practise the noblest and most visible professions, and especially doctors, to still be seen as the heroes.
The effects of reforms aimed at cost containment can also be measured in terms of social and territorial health inequalities. For populations living in territories that are under-equipped with the medico-social services supposed to allow continuity of care after hospital discharge, what are the implications of part of hospitals’ workload being transferred to “outpatient” medicine? What does hospitalization at home mean for disaffiliated working-class patients – those who are ageing or chronically ill and isolated due to their unstable family situation, administrative status or economic condition? Doctors’ freedom in prescription and in location of practice entails significant territorial inequalities, which may be aggravated by the transfer of care from hospitals to private practices and by a shift in the funding of healthcare, from the compulsory state-sponsored health insurance scheme to the private supplementary scheme. Contributions to the dissier could seek to show the equivalences of positions in which the divide between rich and poor territories can be reflected and accentuated in access to care.
The fact that the Plan blanc, which is usually associated with emergency situations, was activated twice over just a few months in 2020, does call for close consideration of what makes the event a crisis. Since the Covid-19 epidemic broke out, the term “crisis” has been used in public debate to highlight its seriousness. This draws a link with the “crisis of emergency rooms” and, more generally, with the movement of hospital staff protesting against managerial reforms and the restrictions on resources being imposed on an institution that is managed on a “just-in-time” basis. The government’s decision to impose a general lockdown throughout the country in the name of protecting the hospital system has contributed to placing this institution at the centre of the “public health crisis”. Beyond consensual discourses highlighting the extraordinary “courage” of care workers, this second line of questioning is intended to explain how hospitals and their staff have been able to cope with this unprecedented epidemic wave without collapsing.
The difficulties encountered in coping with the Covid-19 epidemic have also brought back into focus the weak regulatory measures imposed on private clinics compared to the ever-increasing loads and constraints placed on the public hospital system. To understand the crisis in public hospitals and its multiple facets we need to situate it in the context of the entire healthcare system, with close attention to the effects of the private sector’s rise on the pool of doctors and nurses who are still willing to accept worse working conditions and lower pay for the sake of public service. Moreover, the private sector is far from being uniformly and inevitably attractive to hospital workers: it varies according to their class, gender, and educational background. In addition to the widening gap between the public and private sectors, there is a proliferation of parallel arrangements that are blurring the boundaries between these two worlds, for instance private hospital consultations designed to keep public hospitals attractive for specialist doctors, and increasing recourse to subcontracting. Articles may focus on the sociology of patients who remain public service users as opposed to those who choose the private sector more and more systematically, and on the rationales which lead patients to choose between public and private services, according to their social situation, the seriousness of their condition, their feeling of urgency, and the healthcare offer, between private practices and the hospital or clinical solutions available in their territory. Such competition effects lead to forms of segregation which, in the long term, could undermine taxpayers’ willingness to contribute to a system that is less and less universal.
Analysing the Covid-19 epidemic as a public health crisis requires us to compare it with previous crises in recent history, and especially the 2003 heat wave crisis. In both cases, the high mortality rates of older people was a stark reminder of the fact that individuals’ chances of survival may depend on intensive care facilities and the availability of beds in intensive care units, while institutions throughout the country are far from being endowed with equivalent budgets. The large number of patients in Ehpad (homes for the aged) who were sent to hospital departments and died there calls for an examination of the place of end-of-life care in the hospital system. The case of Ehpad and psychiatric ward residents who, conversely, were not transferred to hospital wards in time also warrants a study of the rationale according to which patients are “sorted” before they even enter a hospital (by whom, according to what criteria and with what legitimacy?).
While healthcare workers all agree that working conditions are deteriorating, their reactions may vary considerably depending on their social characteristics, trajectory, militant socialization, and the department and institution at which they work. Hirschman’s triad allows us to broadly characterize the range of possible strategies: here, Exit consists in leaving the public hospital to join the private sector, or changing one’s professional approach entirely; Voice is reflected in the multiple mobilizations that have taken place in recent years even though they are known to be difficult to lead in this sector, due to minimum service obligations; and Loyalty encompasses all attitudes consisting in carrying on one’s professional activities, fulfilling one’s mission and task, yet still feeling free to criticize current developments.
Collective mobilization among hospital staff has been the subject of numerous studies, but far less attention has been paid to the quieter resistance that takes place within hospital workspaces. It might also be interesting to look at the unlikely configurations that can emerge within hospital institutions that are enmeshed in multiple contradictions. What explains the fact that many hospital staff do not voice their exasperation with the deterioration of working conditions in political terms? What should be made of the fact that part of the hospital-university elite has become hostile to managerial reforms after having advocated for them for a long time, as the only possible future for public service?
Further information on the content of this call for papers can be obtained from the coordinators at the following addresses:
Authors wishing to submit an article to the journal on this theme are requested to send it with an abstract and a presentation of each author.
(see the RFAS “instructions for authors” [online] at https://drees.solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/2020-10/01_2017_plaquette_6p_pages_rfas_a4_uk_.pdf)
at this address:
before Monday 26 April 2021
 Jean Castex, speech at the Hôpital Nord in Marseille, 24 October 2020.
 The Plan blanc consists in mobilizing all hospital health professionals, including those on leave, to deal with a crisis (accident, terrorist attack, epidemic, etc.). It is generally activated at the local level.
For a review of the literature on hospitals in RFAS, see François-Xavier Schweyer, “L’hôpital, une transformation sous contrainte. Hôpital et hospitaliers dans la revue”, Revue française des affaires sociales, No. 4, 2006, pp. 203-223.
 On the transfer of patients to private practices, see Patrick Hassenteufel, François-Xavier Schweyer, Michel Naiditch, « Les réformes de l’organisation des soins primaires », Revue française des affaires sociales, No. 1, 2020.
 Frédéric Pierru, « Introduction. L’administration hospitalière, entre pandémie virale et épidémie de réformes », Revue française d’administration publique, n° 174, 2020, p. 305.
 Catherine Pollak, Layla Ricroch, « Arrêts maladie dans le secteur hospitalier : les conditions de travail expliquent les écarts entre professions », Études et Résultats, n°1038, Drees, November 2017.
 Nicolas Belorgey, « Trajectoires professionnelles et influence des intermédiaires en milieu hospitalier », Revue française d’administration publique, n°174, 2020,p. 405-423.
 Pierre-André Juven, « ‘Des trucs qui rapportent’. Enquête ethnographique autour des processus de capitalisation à l’hôpital public », Anthropologie & Santé. Revue internationale francophone d’anthropologie de la santé, 16, 2018.
 Christelle Avril, Irene Ramos Vacca, « Se salir les mains pour les autres. Métiers de femme et division morale du travail », Travail, genre et sociétés, n° 43, 2020, p. 85-102.
 Pierre Bourdieu, « Effets de lieu », La misère du monde, Paris, Seuil, 1993, pp. 159-167.
 Alban Bensa, Eric Fassin, « Les sciences sociales face à l’événement », Terrain. Anthropologie & sciences humaines, 38, 2002, p. 5-20.
 By extension, the crisis in psychiatry also comes to mind – see Alexandre Fauquette, Frédéric Pierru, « Politisation, dépolitisation et repolitisation de la crise sans fin de la psychiatrie publique », Savoir/Agir, n°52, 2020, p. 11-20.
 Pierre-André Juven, Frédéric Pierru, Fanny Vincent, La casse du siècle. À propos des réformes de l’hôpital public, Paris, Raisons d’agir, 2019, p. 162.
 Sylvie Morel, « La fabrique médicale des inégalités sociales dans l’accès aux soins d’urgence », Agone, n°58, 2016, p. 73-88.
 Jean Peneff, La France malade de ses médecins, Paris, Les Empêcheurs de penser en rond, 2005, p. 246; Audrey Mariette, Laure Pitti, « Covid-19 : comment le système de santé accroît les inégalités », Métropolitiques, 10 July 2020: https://metropolitiques.eu/Covid-19-en-Seine-Saint-Denis-2-2-comment-le-systeme-de-sante-accroit-les.html.
 During the first wave, Covid-19 patients from retirement homes who were transferred to hospitals accounted for almost half of the deaths recorded by Santé publique France.
 Fanny Vincent, « Penser sa santé en travaillant en 12 heures. Les soignants de l’hôpital public entre acceptation et refus », Perspectives interdisciplinaires sur le travail et la santé, 19-1, 2017.
 Albert O. Hirschman, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Harvard University Press, 1970.
 Danièle Kergoat, Françoise Imbert, Helène Le Doaré, Danièle Senotier, Les infirmières et leur coordination, Paris, Editions Lamarre, 1992, 192 p.; Ivan Sainsaulieu, « La mobilisation collective à l’hôpital : contestataire ou consensuelle », Revue française de sociologie, vol. 53, 2012, p. 461-492.
Multidisciplinary call for papers on:
The production of social health inequalities
For the July-September 2021 issue of RFAS
The dossier will be coordinated by:
Jean-Charles Basson, Political scientist, Director of the Institut Fédératif d’Études et de Recherches Interdisciplinaires Santé Société (IFERISS, FED 4142), Deputy Director of the Centre de Recherches Sciences Sociales Sports et Corps (CreSco, EA 7419), researcher at the Laboratoire d’Épidémiologie et Analyses en Santé Publique (LEASP-EQUITY, UMR INSERM 1027) and at the Laboratoire des Sciences Sociales du Politique (LaSSP, EA 4175), University of Toulouse,
Nadine Haschar-Noé, Sociologist, researcher at the Institut Fédératif d’Études et de Recherches Interdisciplinaires Santé Société (IFERISS, FED 4142), at the Centre de Recherches Sciences Sociales Sports et Corps (CreSco, EA 7419) and at the Laboratoire des Sciences Sociales du Politique (LaSSP, EA 4175), University of Toulouse,
Marina Honta, Sociologist, researcher at the Centre Émile Durkheim (UMR CNRS 5116), University of Bordeaux.
This call for papers is aimed at researchers in sociology, political science, geography, demography, anthropology, public health, economics, management, and law, as well as stakeholders in the fields of health and social medicine.
The deadline for submission is Monday 29 March 2021.
Social inequalities in health – SHI, as they are increasingly referred to – have tragically become an issue since they were brought to light by a school of epidemiology informed by the frameworks of social sciences, willing to look at social determinations, and sensitive to the biographical trajectories of individuals. From pioneering works to recent productions (Lang, 1993; Leclerc, Fassin, Grandjean, Kaminski, Lang, 2000; Aïach, Fassin, 2004; Elbaum, 2006; Leclerc, Kaminski, Lang, 2008; Lang, Kelly-Irving, Delpierre, 2009; Haut conseil de la santé publique, 2010; Lang, 2010; Aïach, 2010a; Aïach, 2010b; Lang, 2014; Lang, Kelly-Irving, Lamy, Lepage, Delpierre, 2016; Lang, Ulrich, 2017; Haschar-Noé, Lang, 2017), the literature in this long yet incomplete list shows that SHIs are biologically incorporated throughout an individual’s life (Krieger, 2001; Hertzman, 2012).
Hence, it is accepted that “biological phenomena as diverse as maternal health and nutrition, various childhood infections, vaccinations, and stress factors are linked to social processes such as the socio-economic status of parents or their access to health services […] [in such a way that,] had the whole of a life been an accumulation of disadvantages, any endeavour to repair previously done damages would require significant efforts” (Lang, 2010). This is based on the understanding that “social organization distributes advantages and privileges on the one hand and disadvantages and impairments on the other” (Aïach, 2010b). Yet what are these social processes and this likewise social organization, that so relentlessly command the dealing of advantages and privileges to some and disadvantages, damages, and impairments to others? According to what processes and rationales does this distribution of social inequalities operate in this medical sense?
These questions clearly warrant consideration, as “the transition from the structural facts characterizing society to the observed realities of health remains relatively obscure: the analysis of inequalities does not provide the key to the mechanisms by which macroeconomic and macrosocial transformations influence risk behaviour or prevention practices, mortality or morbidity rates” (Leclerc, Fassin, Grandjean, Kaminski, Lang, 2000). It seems like the “social” quality attributed to health inequalities, as it was introduced and validated by the epidemiologists most familiar with sociological considerations, has gone largely unexamined in terms of its multiple meanings and direct implications. It appears that anything that defies the biomedical paradigm and, more subtly, the epidemiological prism, is deemed “social”, which in this case means impalpable, immeasurable, and yet particularly effective. Assuming there were a somewhat mysterious and highly structuring social side to the production of health inequalities, most of the currently available literature proves both incapable of identifying it and unable to characterize its founding principles and determining factors. In this broad overview, the term “social” appears to denote an uncertain element of the indiscernible and all-encompassing “context” within which individuals exist and with which they must come to terms as best they can. This is clearly a blind spot in the prevailing analysis on the subject, that the journal Agone undertook to bring to attention by revealing that health was likely to “compound social inequalities” (2016).
Similarly, it is perfectly feasible and indeed imperative, to metaphysically consider that “the SHI situation raises essential issues such as life, death, or justice, that seem to have been forgotten” (Lang, 2014) and thus to invoke the values inspired by Elias’ historical civilizing process (Elias, 1997 ), to suggest that this omission may be interpreted as “denial of a fact that belies the myth of equality” (Lang, 2014). Undertaking to analyse the drivers of the production of SHIs is equally important, albeit more mundane and tedious. For, if “social health inequalities are the result of complex processes that occur both in the social sphere and in the biological field […] and are the subtle product of the other social inequalities characterizing a society at a given time in its history” (Aïach, 2010b), we propose to work collectively to bring to light the social complexity and subtlety of the construction of health inequalities.
Research on SHIs has nevertheless made two major contributions over the last thirty years: the social gradient and health determinants. First, the former contends that individuals’ health corresponds to their respective social positions on a continuum (Galobardes, Shaw, Lawlor, Lynch, Smith, 2006; Cambois, Laborde, Robine, 2008; Garès, Panico, Castagné, Delpierre, Kelly-Irving, 2017; Mackenbach, 2017). Thus “most health indicators (life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, perceived health, healthy behaviour, use of the health system, etc.) deteriorate when descending from the most privileged to the most disadvantaged social categories” (Lang, Ulrich, 2017). Second, the many health determinants identified by research are divided into “three main families”: socio-economic determinants; health behaviours; and the healthcare and prevention system. Considered to be inter-dependent, “they form full-fledged chains of causality and accumulate […] over the course of a life” (Lang, Ulrich, 2017).
We consider these concepts as resources that analysis of the social construction of health inequalities can use both as steppingstones and as variables to be tested. We thus endorse Didier Fassin’s argument that “beyond the identification of risk factors made possible by epidemiology, it is for social sciences to understand the processes through which a social order translates into bodies” (Carricaburu, Cohen, 2002). Moreover, “rather than a reality derived from biological, medical or philosophical definitions, health appears to be both a notion and a space defined by the relationships between the physical body and the social body” (Fassin, 2002). The social body and the social order are thus unquestionably heuristic and empirical leads which may render “the origin and the foundations of social health inequalities” (Aïach, Fassin, 2004) respectively thinkable and visible. We therefore argue that, while epidemiology can point them out, SHIs are, amongst other factors, sociologically, politically, geographically, demographically, anthropologically, legally, economically, culturally, and corporally constructed.
Hence, the fact of using the broad spectrum of social sciences calls for the concepts and schools, methods and objects, data and field surveys of various disciplines to be brought together so as to sift through the cumulative determinants of the social and territorialized production of health inequalities. We are confident that by combining and comparing analyses, especially on an international scale and at a time when stock is still to be taken of Covid-19, we will be able to characterize the general production process of domination and social discrimination in health. In so doing, we hope to reveal the conditions under which this process is perpetuated and expanded, in order to counter it more effectively. For there is one issue that remains to be addressed in order to better understand SHIs and undertake to mitigate them: the multiple, complex and embedded logics of their implacable and meticulous production.
First of all, the social sciences under consideration here aim to confirm, through analysis, that socially constructed inequalities are indeed the issue at hand, as “being rich, educated and healthy is not an option that one could have to pick out among other possibilities. Wealth is more enviable than poverty, education and knowledge are valued more highly than lack of education and ignorance, and good health is preferable to ill health: this is why we do not speak merely of social differences between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, the healthy and those who are suffering or weakened, but of inequalities” (Lahire, 2019), be they in the area of health or any other domain, where each of them reinforces all others. While it is widely accepted that the source and breeding ground of inequalities is the structure of the social organization within which they operate, studying them entails closely inspection of the political dimension of the social relations governing their construction. Analyses submitted for this issue should therefore pay attention to the issues of power, the processes of domination, the mechanisms of stigmatization and the complex interplay of social distinctions, divisions and contradictions that make the perpetuation and aggravation of SHIs possible.
More specifically, to shed light on the workings of the production of social health inequalities is to choose deliberately to focus on the manifold situations that generate, produce and foster these inequalities. It is to study the places where means to craft, maintain and renew SHIs are patiently formed and elaborated, progressively shaped and ineluctably woven, lastingly forged and woven, skilfully ordered and rigorously arranged. It is also a question of understanding how this process takes place: according to which structuring mechanisms, under which conditions and core dynamics, which modalities and practices, which uses and behaviours, which experiences and opportunities. As such, the emphasis is placed firmly on the different processes and modes of health socialization and on the mechanisms at play in its formation. The aim is to determine how the effects of the reinforcement, remanence and reactivation of SHI can differentially mark (Bourdieu, 1979; Lahire, 2002) the incorporation of socially acquired dispositions relating to class, race, sex, gender, age and/or generation. Following the intersectional approach of Galerand and Kergoat (2014), these relations are conceived of as dynamic, consubstantial, articulated, interwoven and coextensive. Similarly, taking somatic cultures into account (Boltanski, 1971) makes it possible to critically examine the dialectical arrangement and logic of connection of social dispositions and health systems.
Moreover, the modalities whereby the government of bodies is produced (Foucault, 2008; Fassin, Memmi, 2004; Honta, Basson, Jaksic, Le Noé, 2018), and therefore of health (Basson, Haschar-Noé, Honta, 2013; Honta, Basson, 2015 and 2017), are also to be closely considered, as they tend to fuel the process of building and entrenching SHIs. The ability of the various instances of power to manage the social body’s quasi-organic components helps to enrol the body of individuals as a medium and a vector for implementing public health policy. The work on oneself that this entails, through a series of objectivization and individual discipline exercises, forces each subject gradually to incorporate the rules of propriety, wisdom, reason, common sense, prudence, even restraint, established as principles of life, of self-preservation and physical safekeeping. While this process involves incorporation, that is, control over one’s body and self-control in conduct as explained and described in Elias’ analysis (Elias, 1997 ), it does not however free anyone from external control, legal sanctions, punitive procedures and other disciplinary penalties.
Yet not all bodies are impacted in the same way, with the same intensity, urgency and force. Differentiated modes of governance in population health are emerging, in which relationships of domination are at play. Thus, by prioritizing socially, culturally, economically, and geographically vulnerable people, this corporal governmentality is socially situated and directly confronted with the dispositions of their “target audience” whose tendencies and inclinations are often stigmatized. It is in the very bodies of vulnerable people from crisis-laden working-class backgrounds that public action (in the health sector or related areas affecting the social determinants of health) finds the most fertile ground to sow its seeds, express itself in multiple ways, persistently unfold and spread as it grows. “The contemporary working classes” (Cartier, Coutant, Masclet, Renahy, Siblot, 2015; Arborio, Lechien, 2019) are regularly subjected to injunctions to eat well, exercise enough, protect oneself adequately, to “behave well in a healthy city” (Basson, Honta, 2018). These injunctions bear witness to the depth at which a strong normative and moralizing aspect is anchored in modes of government of populations. The social conditions under which the modes and regimes of justification and legitimization of these relationships to the social and political order underpinning SHIs are received and interiorized warrant further attention. The time is particularly right, as access to the health system is increasingly difficult, digital tools are developing and impacting daily life, recourse to hospitalization at home is increasingly frequent, and the Covid-19 pandemic has led to widespread confusion between the realms of health-related order and of public order.
While the social incorporation of inequalities serves the “political production of health” (Fassin, 2002), it can also give rise to alternative forms of effective contributions to the general process, even though that may involve tampering with it. Seeing health inequalities as part of the entire social question also lays the ground for politicizing them. The mechanism through which objectives assigned to actions are requalified is known: “they ‘become’ political in a kind of – partial or total – reconversion of the end goals assigned to them, the effects expected of them and the justifications that can be given for them” (Lagroye, 2003). This is precisely what is at play in the field of health.
While proposing to study “the social construction of reality” (Berger, Luckmann, 2012 ) of health inequalities is tantamount to trying to counteract the totalizing influence of the biomedical filter on their perception and analysis, we are nevertheless careful not to contribute to erecting constructivism as a dogma that should invariably govern SHI studies. In direct reference to Berger and Luckmann’s seminal work and to the variations to which it still gives rise to this day, our aim is “to acquire a dynamic conception of the actor as being subjected to multiple and contradictory socialization processes which are never completed because they are unfinishable, taking place throughout a lifetime. Without calling into question the founding elements acquired by the individual during primary socialization (early childhood), this conception opens up the spectrum of identity transformation” (Berger, Luckmann, 2012 ).
However charged they may be, incorporation processes for health-related dispositions may also be kept at a distance or put on hold, and undergo phases of latency and diversions, reconversions and cut-offs, over the course of a person’s life journey. The analyses submitted should therefore leave room for the individual as the bearer of a history of their own, as this history may in turn have an impact, in one way or another, on the social conditions of SHI production. This applies whether it be targeted at the individual in question, at people in their care, or at anyone to whom they offer support and company in the kind of difficult, painful or even dramatic circumstances that the pandemic is currently generating. The incorporation of a system of potentially numerous and varied dispositions that determine exposure to SHIs in various ways originates in each individual’s biographical trajectory – trajectories that are composed of an intertwined, and possibly contradictory, sum of simultaneous and successive itineraries, rooted in the main socialization environments and bodies (especially the family, school and academic environments, the professional sphere and peer groups).
Beyond powerful mechanisms of socialization and behaviour prescriptions – and in order to understand how a varied assortment of behaviours and initiatives proposes to deal with, maybe do without, and perhaps fight against SHI construction – this will be a matter of rendering and analysing a rich and complex interplay of differentiated appropriations and tinkered arrangements, incremental touches and full redesigns, random combinations and successful adaptations, haphazard compositions and bold reconfigurations, negotiated accommodations and timid workarounds, implicit diversions and overt avoidance, muted resistance and latent protest, or even direct rejection, firm refusal and frank opposition.
The SHI (re)production system has to tolerate, on its margins, distinctive forms of on-site contributions to the general process. Thus, behind the back of the dominant path that ensures the construction of asymmetries in health, the forms, modalities, and plural and heterogeneous expressions of socialization as a work in process become visible as they tentatively come into play. Being imperfectly mastered, the socializing orchestration inevitably lets slip some almost inaudible and unutterable off-tune notes, as well as resounding blunders which herald the end of the quasi-mechanical model of SHI production. For if there is indeed a construction process underway, it should also be conceived of as involving a craft. This entails a definition combining two complementary aspects: expertise, artistic ambition, mastery and meticulous work on the one hand and, on the other, a rudimentary, imperfect and eminently personal quality.
In other words, approximations are plentiful and deviations from the norm are diverse. Original and singular ways of “doing public health” (Fassin, 2008) thus appear to be unevenly successful attempts at gradual emancipation from the general process of producing health. While they allow for incremental forms of awareness of the dominations endured to be brought to light and for varyingly aggressive strategies to be put in place in order to turn the tables of stigmatization, they also remain dependant on dispositions and on the availability and concrete usability of capital, resources and support in the face of the powerful material, social and symbolic constraints imposed by inequality-generating social mechanisms.
Numerous experimental initiatives in social and political mobilization (Laverack, Manoncourt, 2016), aimed at social change, are now developing throughout the world to curtail the production of SHIs. Studies of those initiatives are welcome. They operate at local, national, supranational and international levels, advocate for a form of emancipation, claim to promote individual or global, environmental or community health (Jourdan, O’Neill, Dupéré, Stirling, 2012), define themselves as an alternative to private practice of medicine, and strive to involve the most vulnerable people in gaining and defending access to their rights and expanding their autonomy. The practices of social participation (Fauquette, 2016; Génolini, Basson, Pons, Frasse, Verbiguié, 2017; Basson, Génolini, 2021, forthcoming) and mediation in health (Haschar-Noé, Basson, 2019) that they implement should be further analysed.
Social participation in health is a lever for learning, socializing and activating a broad array of practices, which could be assessed on the international classification scale developed by Arnstein (1969), to define their gradation in terms of power(s). In the field of health, our search is for conclusive traces and tangible signs of the slow, gradual and graduated effects of the formation of a collective consciousness capable of understanding global issues and going beyond individual interests. This, in turn, brings to light specific indicators of the scope and significance of the construction of a democracy open to those most in need in the realm of health – not only in civic and civil terms, but also in a political sense.
Likewise, as outcomes of a “contractual process of building or repairing social ties” (Faget, 2015), mediation practices are based on a third party stance in which “going towards” the public, institutions and social and health professionals meets “working with” them according to individual and collective mobilization logics. Yet some civil society stakeholders show no intention of keeping mediators confined to their consensual role as local interfaces tasked with informing, guiding and supporting vulnerable people and raising awareness regarding obstacles they encounter among health system stakeholders. Using tried, tested, and renewed methods of popular education, they aim, more fundamentally, to facilitate access to rights, prevention and care for those who are dealt the worst hands, and to bolster their autonomy and capacity to act in the field health. As they refrain from imposing on the people they assist, the requirements implicit in the injunction to act responsibly, mediators can also work to counteract the general dysfunctioning in the health system. Some professionals and activists uphold their firm opposition to the idea that health mediation should be neutral, and decisively side with the people they care for in order to counterbalance the power relationship in place between them and the institutions. As they build relationships with users and patients that are meant to be egalitarian, they engage in a contractual process of mutual trust between peers and thus emerge as having “domination savvy” (Demailly, 2014) and passing on their experience.
Focusing on health experimentation aimed at social change and social participation and mediation – all of which are major empirical fields – we propose to lay the groundwork for a framework in which to observe, analyse, interpret and objectify the rampant growth of SHIs in order to better understand and mitigate it. More generally, the papers submitted can come from all social sciences, can be multi-disciplinary, and must deal with one or more of the three main themes defined here: (i) identifying what meaning lies behind social health inequalities; (ii) investigating the process of social construction of health inequalities; and (iii) shedding light on alternative forms of political production of health in order to lay bare SHI production. In all cases, submissions shall necessarily be based on in-depth field studies, supported by appropriate theoretical references and served by original methods.
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Further information on the content of this call for papers can be obtained from the coordinators at the following addresses:
Authors wishing to submit an article to the journal on this theme should send it with an abstract and a presentation of each author.
(see the RFAS “advice to authors” [online] at http://drees.social-sante.gouv.fr/etudes-et-statistiques/publications/revue-francaise-des-affaires-sociales /)
at this address:
before Monday 29 March 2021
Quatre axes sont retenus pour structurer cet appel à articles :
1. Les inégalités sociales de santé vécues par les minorités sexuelles et de genre : état de santé, stigmatisation, discriminations, violences, accès aux soins et aux services de santé, mais aussi diversité des besoins et des réponses, mobilisation des minorités dans la minorité, intersectionnalité, héritages coloniaux, diversité géographique et de milieux de vie
2. Les interventions en santé avec et auprès des minorités sexuelles et de genre : bilan d’interventions existantes ou d’expérimentations, retour d’expérience, analyse d’offres de santé/prévention
3. Les défis liés à la médicalisation/professionnalisation et à l’institutionnalisation : mobilisation communautaire et médicale, métiers et compétences, enjeux de profession et de reconnaissance, recherche en santé, politiques publiques, initiatives et obstacles, place du VIH/sida dans les financements, capacité à lever des fonds, stratégies de recherche de fonds
4. La santé des minorités sexuelles et de genre comme espace critique : critiques de l’acronyme « LGBT » (et de ses déclinaisons), de son caractère homogénéisant et de ses angles morts, enjeux de visibilité et d’invisibilité des minorités, tensions universalisme/spécificités, différenciations sociales transversales (classe, genre, race, état de santé, handicap…)
SOMMAIRE DE CE NUMERO
Politiques, interventions et expertises en santé publique
Gross, R. Gagnayre, P. Lombrail
A.-L. Pot, A.-L. Le Faou, G. Airagnes, F. Limosin
Lang, M.-J. Saurel-Cubizolles, A. Billette de Villemeur, Groupe de travail permanent « Enfants » du HCSP : Y. Aujard, S. Colson, L. Com-Ruelle, E. Debost, P. Duché, A. Gindt-Ducros, V. Halley des Fontaines, M. Kelly-Irving, N. Vernazza-Licht
SOMMAIRE DE CE NUMERO
Politiques, interventions et expertises en santé publique
Aurore Busi, Bastien Boussat, Maxime Rigaud, Alizée Guyomard, Arnaud Seigneurin, Patrice François
Marie Guillaume, Sébastien Riquet, Carole Zakarian, Florence Comte
Marie-Alexia Masella, Béatrice Godard
Aurélien Rousseau, Hugo Bevort, Luc Ginot
SOMMAIRE DE CE NUMERO
Société Française de Santé Publique
Politiques, interventions et expertises en santé publique
Jean Écalle, Hélène Labat, Xavier Thierry, Annie Magnan
Josiane Mbarga, Rose-Anna Foley, Claude Pichonnaz, Céline Ancey