EXPEERTs Conference 2019

Peer support : contemporary issues Health, Disability, Mental Health

Institute in Social Sciences in Britanny (MSHB), Rennes, November, 14th and 15th 2019

Since the 2010’s, this participatory orientation has taken a new turn with the introduction of peers into a set of public policies. The peer refers to a type of actor newly recognized and legitimized by the public authorities in the name of their experiential knowledge: experience of life on the street, experience of chronic disease, experience of addictions, experience of disability, etc. Some are peer advocates, others teachers or trainers, others peer supporters or peer counselors. It is the latter that are the focus of this conference.

Peers are recruited in the multi-professional teams of Housing First public policy for homeless people. Others are asked to participate in the Supported Response for All policy concerning people with disabilities, people living with chronic illness or mental health problems and their families. Still others are expected to break the loneliness and co-construct solidarity and reciprocal relationships within Mutual Aid Groups. Some are enrolled in health or even public health facilities to contribute to therapeutic education or health prevention programs, etc.

As a result of this obvious interest in contemporary French public policies for peers, the practices of peer support, their contexts and statutes are multiplying. While they are fundamental characteristics of peer relationships, symmetry and reciprocity are sometimes even lost sight of. This is not without questioning the issues underlying this participation.

  • Is it the development of the peer support function or the deployment of public policies that is privileged?
  • Is it a desire to democratize targeted sectors of activity and improve public policies, or, conversely, is it the ambition to encourage peers to support public policies through their participation?
  • Is it about recognizing the experiential knowledge of peers and their potential contribution to our society? Or is it a new form of citizen activation?
  • Is the purpose of this peer participation to expand the possibilities for support?
  • Is it a call to lay people to limit public spending?
  • Does peer participation aim to make the populations targeted by public policies more challenging?
  • Or is it standardization and inclusion of peer leaders through ad hoc training and professionalization?

This conference aimed at examining the issues underlying these multiple practical forms of peer participation in the health, social and medico-social sectors as well as self-managed organizations. Its objective was to discern, define and qualify them, and to clarify their practical consequences

Plenary Session – Citizens in a changing society

Session Chair: Baptiste Brossard, Australian National University (Australia)

Joëlle Zask, philosopher, University of Provence – Elements for a culture of participation

Jean-Louis Genard, sociologist, University of Mons (Belgium) – The anthropological horizon of new social policies

En podcast

Plenary Session – From citizen participation to peer support

Session Chair: Robert Dingwall, Nottingham Trent University (United Kingdom)

Marcel Jaeger, sociologist, professor emeritus at the CNAM – The participation of people supported/cared for in France: expected effects, effects produced

Eve Gardien, Christian Laval, sociologists (for the EXPEERTs team), Rennes 2 University – Peer support: context effects, public policy effects

En podcast

Plenary Session – Peer support and accompaniment: the contemporary challenge of professionalization

Session Chair: Eve Gardien, Rennes 2 University

Lise Demailly, sociologist, professor emeritus of the University of Lille – Professionalization of peer support in mental health in France: objectives and challenges

Chyrell Bellamy, PhD, Associate Professor of Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, Yale University (USA) – Experiences of professionalizing peer support: Should human experience be professionalized? Build the link between lived experience and acquired experience

En podcast


  1. The programme of the EXPEERTs 2019 conference
  2. The poster of the EXPEERTs 2019 conference
  3. Proceedings of the workshops of the EXPEERTs 2019 Conference
  4. Slideshows of the workshops of the EXPEERTs 2019 Conference


  1. to Aired’U: all the plenary podcasts
  2. to the dedicated MSHB page: presentation of the conference
  3. to the website of the EXPEERTs conference


A book will be published in the next few months, taking up the subject of the conference in greater depth. The information will be available on this page.

Citer ce billet
Eve Gardien (2021, 11 janvier). EXPEERTs Conference 2019. EXPEERTs. Consulté le 20 mai 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/onvq

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