Ongoing projects

  • Chinese migrations in France facing Covid-19: the emergence of new forms of solidarity in times of crisis (MigraChiCovid)

    ANR Project (2020-2022)
    Coordinator: Simeng Wang, Cermes3

    The MigraChiCovid Research Project (“Chinese migrations in France facing Covid-19: the emergence of new forms of solidarity in times of crisis”) is funded by the National Research Agency (France).

    This project aims to study the representations, perceptions, attitudes and behaviours related to Covid-19 through the lens of Chinese migration in France. On one hand, some Chinese migrants and French born Chinese - among which some are medical experts, journalists, association leaders, researchers - have been actively involved, since January 2020, in healthcare organization, supply of medical equipment as well as information sharing and dissemination, dissemination of expert knowledge.  On the other hand, some individuals have been experiencing discrimination and anti-Asian racism linked to Covid-19, which was first detected in China. Thus, we want to document these two co-existing realities: national and transnational solidarity dynamics in order to improve the control of the disease, in which Chinese living in France participate to, on one side ; discrimination, racism, stigmatization and exclusion towards them and their struggles against these injustices, on the other side.  

    Our research will cover three Work Packages (WPs):

    (1) analysis of  professional practices carried out by health workers and medical researchers of Chinese origin in France facing Covid-19 (WP “MEDIC”); 

    (2) analysis of  the experiences of discrimination and anti-Asian racism related to Covid-19 and mobilizations against these differentiated treatments (WP “DISCRI”); 

    (3) analysis of the changes in Chinese migrants and their descendants’ relationships to China and their transnational civic responsibilities in the fight against Covid-19 (WP “TRANSNA”).

    This research will be based on quantitative and qualitative datas s (interviews, participant observations, online and offline ethnographies, questionnaire). We will question the emergence of new forms of solidarity at the national and transnational scales, to which Chinese migrants and their descendants contribute, at a time of global health crisis.

    Project website

  • From International to Global: Knowledge, Diseases, and the Postwar Government of Health (GLOBHEALTH)

    ERC Contract (2014-2018) | Cermes3
    Coordinator: Jean-Paul Gaudillière, Cermes3

    This project aims at a socio-historical study of the transition between the two regimes of knowledge and action, which have characterized the government of health after World War II: the regime of international public health, dominating during the first decades of the postwar era, which was centered on eradication policies, nation-states and international UN organizations; the present regime of global health, which emerged in the 1980s and is centered on risk management and chronic diseases, market-driven regulations, and private-public alliances. The project seeks to understand this transition in terms of globalization processes, looking at the making of knowledge, the production and commercialization of health goods, the implementation of public health programs, and routine medical work. It will focus on four fields of investigations: tuberculosis, mental health, traditional medicine and medical genetics in order to understand how categories, standardized treatment regimens, industrial products, management tools or specific specialties have become elements in the global government of health.

    Participants Cermes3 : Claire Beaudevin, Anne Lovell, Laurent Pordié
    Membres externes : Christoph Gradmann (University of Oslo)

    Site web de Globhealth

  • Giving meaning to cancer in the era of genomics

    Contract INCa (2018-2021) | Cermes3
    Coordinators: Claire Beaudevin and Catherine Bourgain, Cermes3

    Until recently, the genetic molecularisation of cancer has had only a limited impact on clinical management and on the organisation of care. But with the development of targeted therapies and associated genetic testing, the situation is changing.

    The social sciences have taken hold of this evolution, especially by studying trials in clinical research centres. Too little attention has been given to the genomics of tumours, as a widespread and routine practice. And yet, the importance of local clinical contexts and the diffusion of standards and technologies for creating biomedicine is well-described today.

    This project aims to study how the widespread introduction of genomic technologies and knowledge modifies the way professionals and patients together make sense of cancer. The arrival of genomic technologies in the field of cancer cannot be analysed as a mechanism of linear diffusion from fundamental biology to the patient, but rather as a process of negotiation between different actors (biologists, clinicians, pathologists, patients, bio-computing specialists, industrialists….). Starting from settings for negotiation – clinical genomic infrastructures, patient associations, and clinical interactions – our multi-site ethnography focuses on three molecular genetics infrastructures of the INCa (National Cancer Institute) and one recent national rapid sequencing infrastructure.

    Our objective is to produce detailed qualitative data on the socio-technological, epistemic and organisational conditions that shape the integration of genomics into clinical practice in oncology, as well as on the experiences and forms of socialisation of the disease. The aim is both to highlight concrete practices from the point of view of insufficiently-studied actors and to answer the question: "Can cancer be managed as 'one genomic disease among others'"?

    Collaborators: Ashveen Peerbaye (Lisis, University of Paris-Est), Marc Billaud (Centre Léon Bérard, Cnrs).

  • Healing Encounters: Reinventing an indigenous medicine in the clinic and beyond

    Contrat ERC (2018-2022) 
    Coordinatrice: Emilia Sanabria

    This project aims to develop a symmetrical, ethnographically grounded theory of what healing entails from the perspective of those who give, receive or evaluate healing. It is designed to break with binary frames that contrast indigenous and biomedical healing, positioning them on a tradition–modernity continuum. To do this, it will study the striking expansion and prolific reinventions of healing practices that make use of the Amazonian herbal brew ayahuasca. The unprecedented globalization of this indigenous medicine provides a unique opportunity to study healing encounters ethnographically. The project will examine healing across three related sites: Healing in the City will examine the production of neo-traditional urban healing forms. Healing in the Laboratory will analyse how ayahuasca is reinvented as a psychiatric tool to treat mental health problems and Healing in the Forest will study the contemporary reconfigurations of indigenous shamanism in Amazonia. These practices are entangled in long histories of postcolonial encounters: they are all – neotraditional, biomedical and indigenous alike – thoroughly modern and mixed. The comparative analysis is structured around three transversal objectives: 1) Material Semiotics: will map the entanglement of biological and symbolic effects; 2) Encounters Beyond-the-Human: will push medical anthropology beyond the human by paying attention to the healing propitiated by more-than-human beings and 3) Radical Alterity in a Common World of Encounters.

  • Putting one’s body on the line. An ethnology of a consultation for suicidal adolescents

    Contract DREES / Observatoire National du Suicide (2019-2020 | CERMES3
    Coordinator : Philippe Le Moigne, CERMES3 (in collaboration with Margot Morgiève)

    The vulnerability of adolescents faced with the risk of suicide, regardless of what form it takes, is increased today by tensions originating in the increasing personalisation of social life, leading each person to become the author of their own actions. To understand the impact of these tensions, a study by factors is insufficient, hence the project to study in detail the life situation of these adolescents faced with this risk.

    Two types of tensions in particular merit detailed examination. In the area of relationships, an initial tension drives them to be affiliated first of all with their family, and at the same time to mark their independence. This equilibrium between loyalty and distance is sometimes simply impossible for them to find. In the area of success, adolescents are asked to make scholarly and professional investments for which they cannot immediately measure the benefits. This may lead to them developing behaviours guided by the exercise of authority over oneself, which may lead to inextricable situations (marginalisation, violence, harassment, drug abuse, anorexia, etc.).

    To describe these processes, we plan to observe the consultations in two hospital departments of child psychiatry, one in Tours, the other in Rouen. To the extent that the first unit is primarily focused on managing family problems, whereas the second sees more adolescents coming from Child Protective Services, we hope in this way to theoretically cover all of the isolated suicidal problems with the project. The study will take place over two years. It will include interviews with care personnel in the services (N=30), and participant observation in the consultation for the young people admitted for a risk of suicide (N=20). In the end, we will reconstruct a typology of risk situations, with the goal of encouraging the development of other ways of coping for these young people that may prevent them from again resorting to suicidal acts.

    This proposal is in the theme ‘Suicidal Behaviours and Adolescent Processes’, in the call for proposals. It first seeks to define the conditions of a field survey, drawing on a review of issues found in English-language literature. Next, basing its analysis of the process of adolescence on the perspective of a requirement of increased personalisation, the project proves to be heuristic in more than one way. For example, the perspective permits clarifying contemporary modes of adolescent affiliation and in this way provides a key for understanding the spread of suicidal ideas on the “social networks”. It allows us to understand as well why the obligation to feel valued has grown among young people even though the proof of their success has been deferred. This tension raises a need for mastery and respect among them which may lead, as the project hypothesises, to new expressions of suicide, driven notably by a need to look good and by revenge. 

  • Study of the history of labour inspection associations (end of 20th-beginning of 21st centuries)

    Contract with the Ministère du travail (2017-2020) | CERMES3
    Coordinator: Vincent Viet, CERMES3

    During the 1980s, labour inspectors took the initiative of creating associations of labour inspection. The Villermé association was founded in 1982, then the L611-10 association some time later. These initiatives took place in the context of upheavals in the world of work, the implementation of the Auroux Laws where inspection played a specific role, and the desire of these public officials to develop their professional practice, as well as labour inspection in general.

    Over a twenty year period, these associations have reflected on the job of labour inspector by comparing themselves to outside actors. Composed of monitoring personnel, the associations were able to involve other actors such as academics, magistrates, trade unionists or risk preventers, and labour inspectors from other European countries. Each in its own way, these associations have been involved in the public debate on work and employment, and of course, on the public service of inspection.

    The purpose of the study is to analyse the history of these two associations by placing them within the history of labour inspection and of the Labour Ministry, to understand the reasons for their emergence as well as their respective evolution, to determine the similarities and the differences that divide them, to evaluate their impact within administrative services and the relationships they have maintained with supervisory staff, the Labour Ministry and the inspection unions. These include emphasizing what these associations have brought to labour inspection and the policies carried out by the ministry, without of course neglecting the possible limits of their action.

    With the goal of stimulating reflection by the various actors on the role and mode of intervention of the public service of labour inspection in our country, a correspondence is proposed with the reform of the labour inspectorate initiated in 2014 and currently being implemented.

    The study is based on all of the following:

    • forty interviews with monitoring personnel having belonged, or not, to these associations, ministry management personnel or executives, influential persons having had contact with the associations;
    • archives kept by the above-mentioned associations;
    • and, when necessary, on scientific and unpublished literature.
  • Suivi Longitudinal des Attitudes à l’égard d’un VAccin contre la COvid-19 (Slavaco)

    Contrat French National Research Agency (2021-2023) | Cermes3
    Coordinator: Jeremy Ward, Cermes3

    The Slavaco project is funded by the French National Research Agency and led by Jeremy Ward (Inserm, Cermes3). This project aims to study the evolution of public attitudes towards the different aspects of covid vaccination but also attitudes towards vaccines more generally; the attitudes of health professionals and the evolution of discussions about vaccines taking place on social networks. It mobilises a consortium of researchers from different teams and disciplines. We are particularly interested in the socio-economic factors behind vaccine hesitancy but also vaccine adherence. We are particularly interested in the way in which ordinary relationships with politics and science influence representations of vaccines. The project is mainly based on questionnaire surveys and on the analysis of content published on the social network twitter.



    Enquête COVIREIVAC : les français et la vaccination

    Enquête COVIREIVAC : attitudes des français face à l’obligation vaccinale Covid-19

    Premiers résultats de l’enquête Slavaco Vague 1 et approfondissement de l’analyse de l’enquête COVIREIVAC - les français et la vaccination

    Enquête Slavaco Vague 2 : passe sanitaire, obligation vaccinale et rappels

    Enquête Slavaco Vague 3 - Sesstim : vaccination des enfants, intentions de vaccination contre le Covid et usage de l’application TousAntiCovid

  • The price of cancer. The political and economic sociology of therapeutic innovations

    Contract: National Institute of Cancer (2018-2021) |CERMES3
    Coordinator: Pierre-André Juven, CERMES3

    Starting from the observation of the very high cost of medicines for fighting cancer and the important stakes for the sustainability of the health system, this research project aims to produce a sociological study of the controversies relative to the determination of prices of innovative medicines and their effects on the organisation of care. Sociological research on the regulation of drugs or on the history of medical-economic knowledge has been done but none has yet studied the present controversy concerning the medical-economic evaluation of new medicines against cancer, nor the role of that evaluation in fixing prices. Likewise, while ethnographic studies have shown the effects of new public management or modes of financing for health organisations, none has yet been carried out on the effects of drug prices within health facilities.

    This project has a two-fold objective. First, we want to offer the most comprehensive analysis possible of procedures for the evaluation and pricing of innovative cancer medicines by studying competing types of evaluation. Second, we intend to study the effects of the prices of these drugs on medical thinking and practices, or even on the organisation of care. To reach these objectives, our study will assemble four types of material: semi-structured interviews, ethnographic observations, a study of reports and unpublished literature, and the use of a questionnaire.

    Project members: Catherine Bourgain (Inserm, CERMES3), Maurice Cassier (CNRS, CERMES3), Catherine Le Galès (CNRS, CERMES3)

    Collaborators: Brigitte Dormont (University of Paris-Dauphine), Lionel Perrier and Marc Billaud (Centre de lutte contre le Cancer Léon Bérard, Lyon), Stéphanie Bordenave and Jaafar Bennouna (CHU Nantes), François Goldwasser (Hôpital Cochin, Paris)

Copyright © 2022 Cermes3

Centre de recherche, médecine, sciences, santé, santé mentale, société
UMR CNRS 8211 - Unité Inserm 988 - EHESS - Université de Paris

Campus CNRS

7, rue Guy Môquet - BP 8
94801 Villejuif Cedex

Université Paris Cité

Campus Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Bâtiment Jacob (3ème étage)
45, rue des Saints-Pères
75270 Paris Cedex 06

logo inserm   logo cnrs   logo universite paris   logo ehess