Veronique Guienne has always questioned democracy in daily life, making empirical observations about what lies at the heart of everyday practices, and putting them into perspective through an analysis of public politics.
Her interest is especially focussed on morally problematic social subjects, on which different concepts of the good, the fair and legitimate in society enter into confrontation: profit margins, the division of work and wealth, prostitution and in a more general way, problem populations, euthanasia and end of life choices, and also at this time issues concerning health. These confrontational life concepts call into question the relationship between the human body and the way it is used.
Her research perspective, going beyond description and sociological analysis of political issues and practice, is an investigation into the social conditions of this strongest of common democracies. The latter is researched not only through a clarification of the issues, existing legitimacy and identifiable obstacles, but also through the updating of procedures that would allow both the issues themselves and the citizens to be not only more clearly understandable but also more active in the putting into practice of these procedures of emancipation.
This politically-committed sociology is however never dogmatic; the well-documented information, analyses and procedures identified are invitations for us to reflect and invent, each at our own level, about a personal life that is more considered, where we are the subject and not the object, and also about a fairer and more interdependent community life.
Our choices in health is revealing, not controversial. The domains of our own choices in health matters during our lives must be understood.
How far is it possible to make these choices as a subject, both on the individual and community levels?
Our choices are currently very complex: we have to choose between what is socially agreed, recommended, compulsory, politically correct and economically possible.
The analysis of these practical dilemmas is supported by research in France, Germany and Quebec, together with statements from health workers and patients – the author has carried out research in the hospital sector over the past few years.
The examination of political controversy and of public debate is sourced from archive material, the press, official reports, medical controversy in professional revues or from parliamentary debates.
The work follows an itinerary of our choices in health matters throughout our lives, which, in each case, has a different situation as its starting point:
- healthy but potentially ill in the future;
- officially ill;
- weakened by age although not necessarily ill.