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Michel Alexandre

PhD Student in Sociology, Paris Descartes University

Contact: alexandre.michel1989(at)


Dissertation title: Therapeutic resistances. A sociology of psychotropic drugs effects

Under the supervision of Xavier Briffault and Nicolas Henckes

For the past thirty years, psychotropic drug resistance has been a significant concern for psychiatrists and public health professionals. This notion has been developed for three pathologies: depression, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. For psychiatrists, the definition of treatment-resistant trouble requires an inadequate response to an adequate course of treatment. In this work, I will explore how psychiatrists manage therapeutic failure. I will also describe how psychiatrists, laboratory researchers, pharmaceutical industries and other actors have contributed to the emergence of treatment resistance as a category. I will conduct a study along two research axes. First, I will explore archival data to understand the role actors had in shaping these categories. Then, I will conduct interviews and observations in a psychiatric ward to determine how these categories are produced and discussed in daily practice. I would like to understand how psychiatrists identify, classify and manage drugs resistance, efficacy and side effects.

Briffault Xavier, Henckes Nicolas

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