jeudi 29 novembre 2018

La responsabilité partagée du soin

The shared responsibility of care: Historical debates on health and social care provision during the 19th and 20th centuries

Call for Papers

International workshop 
Leuven, 3-4 June 2019 

Current political and societal discussions on the future organisation of social and healthcare services are driven by many different agendas. The traditional, institutionalised national welfare state mechanisms experience rising demands but are at the same time confronted with budgetary and operational limits. Officials and policy makers try to develop new frameworks, re-adjusting the balance of responsibilities assigned to professional welfare state institutions, private actors and subsidiary social provisions, the formal and informal voluntary assistance offered by local and cultural communities (community care) and the intergenerational solidarity within families and between individuals. Social provisions should focus on needs rather than on entitlements, so it is argued. New forms of governance and more ‘humane’ social provisions are demanded, rooted in less calculated and conditional but more disinterested forms of solidarity. Other arguments concern the empowerment of patients and other care-receivers, sometimes connected to the need for more individualised provisions and the revalorisation of self-help. Meanwhile other voices urge for a de-institutionalisation or at least a stronger societal embedding of care, facilitating for instance the social (re)integration of patients and other vulnerable groups. These wide-ranging issues and discussions are sometimes summarized under the umbrella concept of ‘socialisation of care’, although this notion remains vague and has been defined in very different ways.

Present debates in European countries on the balance of responsibilities in health and social care often refer to historical practices and models, such as home care traditions and longstanding informal solidarity systems. But a genuine historical perspective on these matters is usually lacking. Historians however ascertain that some contemporary discussions indeed display remarkable similarities with debates in former decades/centuries or even have clear historical antecedents. But we can of course also detect several discontinuities through time and space. The prevailing systems and practices of health and social care in the different European nation states show remarkable differences, as do the ways in which roles and responsibilities are allocated. But all present-day systems can be labelled as the (interim) result of a long lasting ‘balancing act’, involving numerous actors, colored by many different contextual factors and driven by broader (societal, ideological and political, scientific and technological,…) evolutions.

This workshop wants to explore this topic by comparatively reflecting on a set of historical debates concerning the balance of responsibilities in health and/or social care in the 19th and 20th centuries. The main geographical focus of the workshop is on Europe, but propos­als dealing with similar discussions in national contexts outside this continent, will also be taken into consideration. Above all, the organisers want to confront a diverse (chronological, geographical, thematic,…) set of historical case-studies that tackle the issue of shared/ complementary roles and responsibilities in care-systems throughout the many different subfields: poor relief, healthcare and preventive healthcare, child and elderly care, infor­mal caregiving, the care for disabled people, especially those with a mental disorder,… Papers can address discussions set within a particular local, regional or national context, but we also welcome contributions that show a long-term perspective and/or highlight transnational interactions and crossovers.

We urge the contributors to develop their case-study in a systematic way, clearly explaining the context and importance of the debate. Which factors instigated it and on which issues did the discussions focus? Who were the confronting partners and what were their main arguments? How were the main actors (care-providers and care-receivers) framed within the discussions? How did this imagery and the arguments used refer to ideology and religion? And what was the outcome of the debate on care policies and practices? Researchers who wish to highlight the (di)similarities of the historical debate(s) they develop, with the present-day discussions on the organisation of care, are kindly invited to do so. This is however no requirement. After all, at the end of the workshop a panel of specialists of present-day and future care provision will be asked to reflect on the historical case-studies presented.


Researchers from different disciplines and at any stage of their career are invited to submit a proposal. The language of the workshop will be English.

Proposals should be submitted as PDF documents and contain:
a clear title of the envisaged paper
a summary of maximum 500 words, which outlines the paper’s goals, methodology and source materials.
CV(s) of the author(s), with contact information, position and institutional affiliation

They can be emailed to the workshop organizers ( no later than 15 January 2019. The sender should receive a confirmation of proposal receipt within 48 hours. Notification of acceptance will occur no later than 4 February 2019. The selection of the proposals will be based on topic rel­evance and on the degree to which the proposal answers to the call.

All participants will be offered accommodation but with a maximum of three nights (Sunday until Wednesday). A budget for travel is provided for participants who are unable to find funding at their home institution or at other national instances.

A publication of the workshop proceedings is planned with an academic publisher.

Kim Christiaens (KADOC-KU Leuven)
Catharina Th. Bakker (University of Utrecht)
Bert De Munck (University of Antwerp)
Peter Heyrman (KADOC-KU Leuven)
Stijn Van de Perre (Ghent University / Artevelde University College Ghent)
Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven)
Kaat Wils (KU Leuven)

Kim Christiaens
Peter Heyrman
Pieter Verstraete

KADOC-KU Leuven, Vlamingenstraat 39 3000 Leuven.

Call for Papers: November 2018

Deadline for proposal submission: 15 January 2019

Proposal notification: Monday 4 February 2019

Deadline for papers: Monday 6 May 2019

Workshop: 3-4 June 2019

Contact Info:
For any questions and to submit your proposal, please contact:

Vlamingenstraat 39
B-3000 Leuven (Belgium)

Contact Email:


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