The Appearance of a Sub-Field of Medicine of Poverty in France

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: 413
Distributed Paper
Jérémy GEERAERT , École Hautes Études Sciences Sociales, Bobigny, France
This paper aims to tell and analyze the processes and historical background which gave rise to a sub-field (in a Bourdieusian understanding) of medicine of poverty in France from the early 1980's to the 2010's.
The mobilizations for the health care access of the poorest organized by some actors and groups of the medical field led to the vote of the anti-exclusion bill in 1998 and the creation of the Permanence d’accès aux soins de santé (Department of health care access, PASS) in public hospitals. The PASS raised from the meeting of two different social groups – humanitarian (as Doctors of the world) and sub-groups of dominated medical disciplines in the hospital (as palliative care or infectious diseases) – which have developed this understanding of care since the 1980's. This was a response of the raising barriers to the health care access and the incapability of hospital practices to answer the new problems of a margin of the poorest patients taking place in a social and political context of economical crisis and new poverty. The bill and the PASS were both an institutional acknowledgement of a growing reality of health care practices. It brought a new ethical understanding and practice of health care to modern public hospitals based on an idea of a global patient, multidisciplinary work combining social and medical work, networking, and recognition of the social and cultural determinants of health. However it faces the dominant idea and practices of health care, which rely on evidence-based medicine, technical health care, and profitability.
This paper is based on an ongoing Ph.D empirical study in sociology about the treatment of the social question in and by the public hospital in France through the analysis of the PASS.