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Albospeyre Thibeau Raphaël

PhD student in Sociology, EHESS

Postgraduate program: Health, Population and Social Policies

Research grant from the Île-de-France Region/Ifris (DIM IS2-IT) (December 2012 - December 2015)


Dissertation title: Recent changes in the treatment of sexual-development variations:Comparison of approaches in three teams, in the United States, in Switzerland, and in France

Under the supervision of Ilana Löwy

Therapeutic innovations and their impact on the medical treatment of sexual-development variations (SDVs), conditions of persons born with external genitalia, or variant gonads and/or karyotype with respect to the social standards defining female and male bodies.The paradigm prevailing in the treatment of these conditions has been called into question in recent years, in particular regarding the issue of early genital-standardization surgeries.

The goal of this study is to observe the conditions in which the medical and ethical standards of SDV treatment have evolved in three countries and how they have translated into patient expectations and satisfaction.

This research will consist of three ethnographies of specialized medical teams/networks of teams in the United States, Switzerland, and France, whose approaches differ and have an impact on the evolution of research and treatment standards in each national context.

We will explore: the explanatory factors of these divergences; how priorities are set in the evolution of treatment; the mechanisms of therapeutic innovation vis-a-vis social demands and the modulation of these demands depending on the technical offer; and the reflexivity tools used by the teams under consideration.

The investigation will be supplemented with a historical part focusing on the medical archives of the main hospitals involved in each country in order to trace the expansion of the surgical paradigm until it was called into question starting in the 1990s.