2019 conference

Since the 2010's, this participatory orientation has taken a new turn with the introduction of peers into a set of public policies. The peer refers to a type of actor newly recognized and legitimized by the public authorities in the name of their experiential knowledge: experience of life on the street, experience of chronic disease, experience of addictions, experience of disability, etc. Some are peer advocates, others teachers or trainers, others peer supporters or peer counselors. It is the latter that are the focus of this conference.

Peers are recruited from the multi-professional teams of Housing First public policy for homeless people. Others are asked to participate in the Accompanied Response For All policy concerning people with disabilities, people living with chronic illness or mental health problems and their families. Still others are expected to break the loneliness and co-construct solidarity and reciprocal relationships within Mutual Aid Groups. Some are enrolled in health or even public health facilities to contribute to therapeutic education or health prevention programs, etc.

As a result of this obvious interest in contemporary French public policies for peers, the practices of peer support, their contexts and statutes are multiplying. While they are fundamental characteristics of peer relationships, symmetry and reciprocity are sometimes even lost sight of. This is not without questioning the issues underlying this participation.

Is it the development of the peer support function or the deployment of public policies that is privileged (Gardien, Laval, 2018)? Is it a desire to democratize targeted sectors of activity and improve public policies, or, conversely, is it the ambition to encourage peers to support public policies through their participation? Is it about recognizing the experiential knowledge of peers and their potential contribution to our society? Or is it a new form of citizen activation? Is the purpose of this peer participation to expand the possibilities for support? Is it a call to lay people to limit public spending? Does peer participation aim to make the populations targeted by public policies more challenging? Or is it standardization and inclusion of peer leaders through ad hoc training and professionalization?


Registration is open until november 6th.



Les actes de la journée d’étude EXPAIRs 2018 "L’accompagnement par les pairs. Une approche transversale aux champs de la santé, de la santé mentale et du handicap" qui s'est déroulée le 7 novembre 2018, sont disponibles ici.

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