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Rapegno Noémie

PhD student in Geography, EHESS

Contact: nrapegno(at)gmail.com

Dissertation title: Medical-social facilities for disabled adults: Territorial stakes and impact on the users’ social participation

Under the joint supervision of J.-F. Ravaud (Cermes3) and J.-M. Amat-Roze (Lab' Urba)

It is within the framework of an approach combining social geography and regional planning that I propose to tackle the question of disability in geography. My study is organized around the concepts of territory – not only as an arrangement of material and symbolic resources that can structure the practical conditions of the existence of individuals (Levy, 1994) but also as a form of appropriation by individuals, as much in their spatial practices as in their cognitive or symbolic systems (Tuan, 2006) – and territoriality (Raffestin, 1982), or relationship with the territory.

The goal is to analyze the allocation of resources to accommodation facilities for mainly motor-impaired 20- to 59-year-old disabled persons, on the French territory then locally, based on a sampling of facilities; to retrace the facility residents’ territorialities; and to end with a discussion on what environment is more favorable or unfavorable for these residents. I will focus on current and older decision-making mechanisms leading to the establishment of these facilities then on the disabled residents’ space-appropriation processes by studying their spatial and social practices, and their territorial habits.

The research aims to understand the ways in which the facilities are established and in which the disabled residing in medical-social facilities become part of this space depending on the localization and the integration of their accommodation facility into the surrounding environment. I will try to apprehend not only the territorial disparities and dynamics of the sector of accommodation facilities for disabled adults, as well as how the residents draw their own territory and fit into it.

The questions raised by this study are not only of a geographical nature, they open onto a more general reflection on the social participation of the disabled, on the social stakes involved.