The institutionalisation of peer support in France: Development of a social role and roll out of public policies
Eve Gardien, Christian Laval
Departement of sociology, université de Rennes
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Keywords

Peer, Support, Counselling, Peer counselling, Peer support, Peer health mediator, Disability, Mental health, Knowledge, Experience, Experiential knowledge, Institutionalisation

How to Cite

Christian Laval, E. G. (2019). The institutionalisation of peer support in France: Development of a social role and roll out of public policies. Academy Journal, (6(18), 51-65. Retrieved from http://scopuseu.com/scopus/index.php/academy/article/view/723
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Abstract

In France, the practice of peer support is currently developing and becoming institutionalised in health (particularly mental health), social and medico-social sectors. Despite significant shared values, a common background and a universal acceptance of experiential knowledge as the basis of their expertise, there is a diversification in practices. In a context where public health and social policies encourage the development of the social role of peer supporter and where funding is available for a number of salaried posts, some practitioners opt for a voluntary or informal system. This article aims to explore the varied ways in which the role has developed through an analysis of its institutionalisation process. To do this, data from two surveys will be analysed: one based on peer counsellors who set up an association under the law of 1901 and the other on peer-support workers from “Housing First”, an experimental public policy intervention programme. Two different processes of institutionalisation of the peer-support role emerge from the analysis: one which prioritises the development of a social role and the other the roll-out of public policy. Neither is yet sufficiently successful to guarantee the sustainability of the practices, owing to a lack of legitimation process or shortcomings in reciprocal typification. This situation has delayed the professionalisation of the peer-support role. It also raises two questions: that of the links between experiential knowledge and professional knowledge and that of the effects of a meeting of peer supporters who were hitherto isolated in their respective fields (health, mental health, disability, exclusion, addiction, etc.) and within their causes.

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