This panel will bring a critical reflection on self-management of chronic disease from a variety of theoretical, methodological and epistemological lenses. Both empowerment and autonomy as medical concepts and chronic disease as form of living will be theoretically and empirically addressed.
In past decades, chronic diseases have become a salient social, political and healthcare issue. Empowerment, autonomy and self-management have been defined as medical priorities for the Therapeutic Education (TE) of people living with chronic disease. Mobilising heterogeneous knowledge, including lay and medical notions and skills, and interacting with a large variety of healthcare professionals and other supporting actors (relatives, friends, patients, etc.) characterise the way people living with chronic disease cope with their condition. This panel aims at bringing a critical reflection on this crucial topic of research from a socio-anthropological perspective including a variety of theoretical, methodological and epistemological lenses. It also aims at discussing the possible contribution of ethnographic and qualitative approaches to chronic disease management when confronted to mainstream medical discourses and practices on TE, empowerment, autonomy and self-management. This panel will raise questions about chronic disease as a form of living with particular symbolic and material practices and resources. Do different types of chronic diseases need different approaches, analyses and appraisals from Social Sciences (e.g. Medical Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology of Health and Illness)? How knowledge about self-management is produced and circulates through the broad health and social networks in which people living with chronic disease are embedded? What kind of knowledge is at stake? Which are the symbolic and material resources they mobilise and how do they use them? This panel intends to put together original empirical or theoretical contributions tackling these questions (although it is not limited to them).