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Title : Responsabilisation individuelle et non-recours aux dispositifs d'insertion socioprofessionnelle. Le cas des PLIE en Rhône-Alpes. (Individual responsibility and non-take-up of assistance for socio-professional insertion. The case of the PLIE in Rhône-Alpes)

Subject : The general idea of this PhD is to examine the rationales underlying public action and especially the role of beneficiaries in public action as defined and implemented within the Local Sections for Insertion and Employment (Pans Locaux pour l'Insertion et l'Emploi – PLIE). The PLIE are systems that implement employment and insertion policies at local level. They are initiated on the political initiative of a town (commune) or community of towns, and are constituted on the basis of a partnership. They receive European Social Funds of an amount equivalent to their local funding, by virtue of the principle of additionality of European funding. The work is carried out in collaboration with URCLIE, an umbrella organization federating the 11 PLIE in the Rhône-Alpes region. The intervention of the PLIE reinforces the aid for the unemployed proposed by the law and the existing offer of action favouring insertion. Hence, they propose an additional and contingent offer of assistance, in which they have to define their target public locally and to select their beneficiaries. For this purpose, certain criteria pertaining to the individuals' unemployment are used. Another determinant of integration is individuals' adhesion to or engagement in the insertion trajectory that they have constructed. It is this adhesion that is analysed in this PhD. I examine its utility for these systems; how they use it and to what purpose. The analysis also focuses on the way in which they organize themselves to encourage and develop it, and to ensure that it is effective and sustainable. Depending on the actor, this adhesion is a condition of the success of insertion and thus of the efficient functioning of their system. Dysfunctions result primarily in discontinuities, that is, situations for which the beneficiary leaves the system without having found a job. I posit that this mode of functioning, defined around the need to make the beneficiary feel responsible for his or her own trajectory, generate behaviours of NTU. It is therefore necessary to determine the type of NTU concerned, to analyse the causes for these situations, and to study what they can generate.

Funding: Rhône-Alpes Region funding for PhDs ("Exclusion and NTU" thematic network, Operation 1 of Programme 1 of

Research Cluster n° 12).

Period of PhD: 2007-2011.

PhD school: "Sciences de l'Homme, du Politique et du Territoire" (ED SHPT n°454 at Pierre Mendès France University, Grenoble).

PhD supervisor: Philippe Warin.


Title : Qualifying problems and creating practical arrangements of care for autistic children.

Subject : This research aims at proposing a sociological approach of encounters taking place in different institutional spaces that parents may enter to deal with their child’s difficulties. The hypothesis is that children’ trajectories depend on the way parents position themselves in the interactive situations taking place in different institutional areas or “worlds” (administrative, school and medical).
Parental positions are regarded as both practical dispositions and representations, in others terms ways to view and to deal with the child’s condition. Those parental positions are considered as plural due to the multiplicity of the worlds in which they may take place. We suppose that parents can change the way they engage in a given situation according to the world in which their actions are situated. The aim is not only understanding to what extent each world triggers specific parental positions, but also how the parental positions in different worlds may be articulated to one another. The parental positions may also evolve in time insofar as the child’s situation itself may evolve.  Parents never stop redefining the “action that convenes” in the different worlds. We suppose that parental positions are partly the result of their trajectory in the different world they encounter. That is to say, parents acquire dispositions to act a certain way through their repetitive encounters with administration, school and health professionals. Nevertheless, parental positions are regarded as determined by the course of the action in progress. They are to be understood as resulting from the participants’ respective places in a given interactive situation. One should not reduce a given interaction to the confrontation of predicable and immutable predispositions.  The analysis aims at articulating the different points of view and the series of actions of the different protagonists who happen to share an interactive situation in a given institutional area. Last but not least, this research intends to question the couple of parents as a coherent entity and pays attention to the fact that parents’ positions may be divergent and even conflicting.
What is at stake in this research is to show to what extent parental positions are put to a test in the different institutional areas. Cooperation between parents and institutional protagonists is based on several conditions that are to be identified. Even though, those conditions may be specified according the institutional area, they seem to have this in common: they lay on the same transversal principle of parental “responsibilization” as far as the child’s becoming is concerned. This responsibility injunction is gendered and it is all the more directed towards the mothers. Parents have to prove their rights to school their child in non-specialized institutions, their right to get their child’s disability compensated, their right to be recognized as competent participants in their child’s care and their right to obtain a medical label that doesn’t disqualify them as parents.
The hypothesis is that institutions both give people unequal capacities of actions and are confronted with people having different dispositions to act. The issue is to manage analyzing the full complexity of the unpredictable encounters with institutions and at the same time, understanding why the people who manage to claim their rights, in successfully passing the tests, are always the same.
The chosen approach is an analysis based on cases, which articulates the different factors determining the trajectory of a family characterized by the presence of an autistic child. The aim is to situate the encounters with institutions in a specified familial configuration. Rather than listing the different explanation factors as if they were static and unrelated with each other, this research aims at underlining the dynamic articulation of those factors in the determination of family trajectories.
The core political dimension of that research is the question of the social order, more precisely the production of social norms on which that social order relies. The analysis of familial situations characterized by abnormality or disability gives the possibility to observe dominant social injunctions towards “parentality”, redefined as an educative competence. As the child doesn’t adapt spontaneously to his/her environment, as primary socialization is not a given; the question of what parents are supposed to give to their child and how they are supposed to do so is explicitly raised. Interactions spaces opened in the different institutional areas are spaces where expectations become explicit, where one’s competency to undertake one’s social role is evaluated, where social places are assigned to individuals through a testing logic. The second political dimension of that research is to show to what extent a category that has become political may not become a public policy category insofar as its object is instituted by medical expertise. This work intends to show the multiple converging reasons why such an issue has not been defined as a collective problem and the consequences of that problematization in terms of social inequalities. Last but not least, this research aims at thinking about the place of mental disability in our society, or rather at underlining the lack of political thinking about participation and citizenship of people, whose reason is deficient or deviant. Through the analysis of the collective tendency to make better adaptation of bodies and behaviours to society more important than subjectivity emergence or expression, the question of the political aspect of constituting beings as persons is raised. Situations of dependency and irremediable lack of individuation question the dominant conception of autonomy, on which rely most of the French social and health public policies.

Methods : ethnography, interviews, case studies

Teaching : Method conference in political sciences for second-year students at the Grenoble Political Science Institute, during two years

Workshops participation:
« Thinking vulnerability between cases and categories », Young Research Days, “Crossed- views on vulnerability », 11th and 12th of June, 2009, Grenoble

« When medical judgement puts to a test the parents’ relationship with their child », Study Day, « Qualify the problems, Decide for someone else. The close relatives facing the medical judgement », 30th of March, 2010, Paris

« The crisis of French psychiatry through the case of autism », Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, 24th- 27th of August, 2010, Maynooth, Ireland

PHD student in political sciences, directed by Philippe Warin

PHD funding for the ENS students between September 2008 and September 2011

Julien LEVY


Héléna REVIL

Title : L’information dans la conduite des politiques publiques. Produire une connaissance sur les publics vulnérables : le cas de l’Assurance Maladie. (Information in the implementation of public policies. Producing knowledge on vulnerable publics: the case of Health Insurance)

Subject : The general aim of this PhD is to examine the steering of public action under the national health insurance policies, from the point of view of the data held by the local social security agencies. The main subject of my research is information or what could be called a "cognitive resource". This particular resource is considered as one of the bases of public and private actors' capacity for intervention. Unequally spread between the actors of public policy, it consists of knowledge acquired relative to the technical, social, economic and political data of the collective problem to solve. In systems of action associating a large number of actors, but based above all on their cooperation, the information that circulates is a main component. My wish to study information as a resource also stems from my finding that there is a paradox between the profusion of administrative data (linked to administrative records such as management files or repertories… used in public statistics), often related to the very idea of a bureaucracy, and the short-sightedness of organizations when it comes to knowing their public. In other words, administrative information systems abound but are not always relevant or useful for meeting information needs in policy implementation. My personal interest in social policies and particularly in the policies of national health insurance (the CMU C and ACS) has revealed that the organizations concerned by the implementation of these systems (especially the Caisses primaries d'assurance maladie for the general scheme) have administrative information that does not provide them with reliable up-to-date data on all their clients. As a result, they are unable to meet some of the expectations of public policies.

Funding: Ministry for Research and Higher Education, funding for PhDs

Period of PhD: 2006-2010.

PhD school: "Sciences de l'Homme, du Politique et du Territoire" (ED SHPT n°454 at Pierre Mendès France University, Grenoble).

PhD supervisor: Philippe Warin.