Le souci des adolescents: traiter une vulnérabilité dangereuse

Abstract : The clinical category of “difficult” adolescents has become ubiquitous in public action in France since the early 2000s. In this thesis, we explore this success as a case-study for contemporary changes in the social treatment of youth deviancy. We use two sets of empirical data: genealogical analysis drawn from a documentary corpus and ethnographic fieldwork conducted in an inter-professional network designed to treat difficult adolescents. We produce a clinical anthropology of mental health, relying on a framework based upon social constructivism tempered with interactionism and pragmatism. The category of difficult adolescents is organised by clinical expertise on subjectivity, inspired by psychoanalysis while distancing itself from psychiatry. It allows professionals in charge of youth to define, publicise and solve an emerging problem: new uncertainties in the public management of violent and deviant youth. It depicts a residual, interstitial population, located between the various institutions treating youth deviancy. Such a margin is fostered by the specialisation of these institutions and by the poor coordination capacities of local authorities and policy makers. This category operates by an extreme biographical personalisation. It reassigns adolescents to a profile of institutional treatment and makes professional interventions meaningful. It coordinates various institutions, while preserving their specialisation. It solves the anomic dilemma of vulnerability versus dangerousness, protection versus autonomy, and care versus control. This clinical expertise has a unique ability in building consensus, insuring a pervasive and coercive moral authority. However, the ethical and social stakes in the care-givers’ trouble and the cultural and political relativity of violence fall beyond this clinical scope. Thus clinical expertise performs care, which is both an affective experience and an attitude, embodying contemporary forms of public action.
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Contributor : Yannis Gansel <>
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  • HAL Id : tel-01338533, version 1


Yannis Gansel. Le souci des adolescents: traiter une vulnérabilité dangereuse. Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. EHESS-Paris, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016EHES0025⟩. ⟨tel-01338533⟩



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