Université de Strasbourg

USIAS Fellows seminar: Systems of social representation of disability in Haiti, between invisibility and burden

June 20, 2019
From 16:00 until 17:30
Salle de la table ronde (MISHA)

By Aggée Célestin Lomo Myazhiom & Frédéric Reichhart (2018 Fellows)

The present communication proposes an overview of our research since June 2018. Based on observations, individual interviews and focus groups, our research puts forward and analyses the systems of social representation related to disability elaborated by disabled persons themselves, their close relatives and members of their living environment.

The analysis of the first data gathered shows that disabled persons feel excluded, marginalised and pushed towards invisibility. As regards the family, the disabled person is often seen as a burden, a person who must be cared for and who is not “a good investment”. The analysis refers to the depiction of nothingness associated with that of uselessness, both of which are shared by the whole of Haitian society. A disabled person is therefore often introduced as a “half man” or a “three-quarters man”. Added to this are the cultural beliefs which feed into and condition moral and guilt-ridden perceptions by the members of the community with regard to disability.

Our communication examines, simultaneously, peoples’ life paths from the moment a disability is announced and its intrusion into the family environment (S. Korff-Sausse, R. Scelles), the role of the family amid servitude (S. Ebersold) and vocation to provide support, different types of solidarity (E. Durkheim), living areas, the role of the State and the voluntary sector, aspects related to the body as regards capacity and incapacity, the relationship between urban and rural, gender and the social function of clerics.

See also the article: our fellows Aggée Célestin Lomo Myazhiom and Frédéric Reichhart in Haiti

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