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Healing foreigners in France: The State and the civil society organisations from the 80s to the 90s

Caroline Izambert

Caroline Izambert is a former history and geography teacher and has a doctorate from the EHESS. Her thesis focused on access to healthcare for foreigners in France. She is currently the director of advocacy for the anti-HIV and hepatitis association AIDES. With Jean-Paul Gaudillière and Pierre-André Juven, she published Pandémopolitique. Réinventer la santé commun (La Découverte, 2021).

Caroline Izambert defended, at the EHESS, her PhD thesis focusing on the foreigners’ access to healthcare in France. Its title: “Healing foreigners?” The State and the civil society organisations for the health coverage of the poor and foreigners in France from the 1980s to the present day. In this work, she undertakes a history of social protection for foreigners and the role held by civil society organisations in its evolution. She is particularly interested in MSF and MDM who, since the second half of the 1980s set up healthcare centers in place in Paris and elsewhere in France in order to treat “the new poor”. She consulted the organizations’ archives and led numerous interviews with key actors of this little-known history. 

This debate-conference was the occasion to dive into MSF’s “Mission France” of the 1980s and 1990s, and the debates, first and foremost internal, on the role and limits of the association in the medico-social domain. Relationship with the State and partner organizations, mobilization of figures and narratives to “make proof”, or even the inherent impossibility to untangle the personal background of the actors of this history with the projects they carry, these questions resonate with more recent experiences and debates within our organization, most notably in the context of projects aimed at caring for migrants.

To cite this content :
Caroline Izambert, Healing foreigners in France: The State and the civil society organisations from the 80s to the 90s , 17 December 2018, URL : https://msf-crash.org/index.php/en/conferences-debates/healing-foreigners-france-state-and-civil-society-organisations-80s-90s

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