Chapter

Suffering Unveiled

Didier Fassin

in Humanitarian Reason

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520271166
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950481 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520271166.003.0002
Suffering Unveiled

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Toward the end of the twentieth century a new language emerged in France to describe its social problems, their effects on individuals, and the possible solutions for them, where the problems were related to exclusion, the effects were interpreted in terms of suffering, and the solutions put forward revolved around the activity of listening. This chapter focuses on the semantic configuration of exclusion, suffering and listening, which can also be qualified as compassion based. The vocabulary of mental health was increasingly used by the French society to implement policies related to inequality and deviance, poverty and crime as these issues were seen more in terms of exclusion and suffering that called for assistance and listening. The state administration and the social sciences played a pivotal role in providing political and intellectual legitimacy to the new categories of exclusion and suffering, which was also adopted by the media to show that these problems were no longer restricted to the margins of society but affected the whole society.

Keywords: France; social problems; social exclusion; suffering; listening; poverty

Chapter.  10038 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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