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Article Dans Une Revue Sociology of Health and Illness Année : 2017

Might Constraint be Compatible with Care?

Antoine Hennion
Pierre Vidal-Naquet
  • Fonction : Auteur


Respecting the autonomy and will of people has legitimately led to strictly control the use of constraint in care activities, and promote a care ethics centred around people's needs and wills. But constraint is underlying in any action aiming at making people do something, even with their consent, especially when their ability to evaluate what is best for them may be altered. Ceaselessly present in care, this ordinary, silent constraint should not be only deemed as a necessary evil to be prevented. In contrast with this legally-based view, the paper adopts a pragmatic perspective. Leaning on minute case studies carried out at disable people's homes, the empirical section takes up some key troubling moments between caregivers and patients as trials capable of revealing ‘constraint in practice’: a situation of uncertainty, doubt, hesitations on the appraisal of what is happening and how to deal with it, banning any clear-cut distinction between technical gestures and moral values. Having outlined the characters of such a ‘situational ethics’, the authors argue in conclusion that, provided caregivers are never quits with its use, constraint is compatible with care, and assume that care theories could fruitfully support this advocacy to ‘maintaining the trouble’ in care practices.



Dates et versions

hal-01439583 , version 1 (18-01-2017)



Antoine Hennion, Pierre Vidal-Naquet. Might Constraint be Compatible with Care?. Sociology of Health and Illness, 2017, 39 (5), pp.741-758. ⟨10.1111/1467-9566.12529⟩. ⟨hal-01439583⟩
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