Racial and ethnic leveraging in a color-blind context: Roma and Muslim patients in French hospitals

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Blue Room (Omni Shoreham)
Christophe Bertossi , French Institute of International Relations
Dorothée Prud'homme , Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Bordeaux
This paper asks how status majority people in a French hospital (white supposedly "color-blind" professionals) assess behaviors and claims of Muslims and the ones of Roma people. The objective is to address socio-ethnic leveraging in a specific institutional setting. Instead of looking at the general politics and public discourses of race and ethnicity in contemporary France, we propose to look at the dynamics involved in the construction of social perceptions and moral boundaries at the level of routine interactions among health professionals and patients. This paper is based on the findings of two empirical fieldworks we have carried out in French hospitals between 2009 and 2012: one looks at how minority groups (immigrants, Muslim citizens, and oversea French nationals) interact with health institutions in the Paris region; the other focuses on how an emergency unit and a maternity care unit in Paris interacts with Roma patients.