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Epistemology and Ontology

Qualitative Critical Health and Activity Psychology

The team "Qualitative and Critical Psychology of Health and Activity" (Marie Santiago leader) follows the Constructivist Paradigm, with its critical theories in health psychology and theories of activity, while developing qualitative methodologies.


The various research projects focus on the analysis of the relationships between individual subjectivity and health systems. They are interested in the structure of human experience during serious and/or chronic illness and in subjective theories of illness, without considering these theories as the cause of the physical illness.


Within this framework, "health" is not an external stable object as defined by medical definition, but rather is part of a mental balancing process throughout life in which the intentionality and the meaning of illness for a subject come to occupy a predominant place. The disorder and its functions become modes of communication for the subject in a world shattered by the illness.


Studies of subjective meanings show models of passage between the "world" of health experience and the "world" of illness, as well as models of "corporeity-socio-psychological" linkages (Santiago-Delefosse, 2002).


These models seek to understand the inseparable co-constructions between embodiment experience, social verbalisation and the experienced worlds of illness. They take into account the embodiment experience, the context and the influence of social determinants.


The various projects carried out by the Team may be grouped into three principal areas, corresponding to publications, original contributions and doctoral dissertations by each member on : theoretical-epistemological, methodological and empirical research.

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Swiss University