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Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 463–472 | Cite as

From solidarity to autonomy: towards a redefinition of the parameters of the notion of autonomy

  • Sylvie FainzangEmail author
Article

Abstract

Starting from examples of concrete situations in France, I show that autonomy and solidarity can coexist only if the parameters of autonomy are redefined. I show on the one hand that in situations where autonomy is encouraged, solidarity nevertheless remains at the foundation of their practices. On the other hand, in situations largely infused with family solidarity, the individual autonomy may be put in danger. Yet, based on my ethnographic observations regarding clinical encounters and medical secrecy, I show that while solidarity may endanger individual autonomy, it does not necessarily endanger autonomy itself. The social practices observable in France reflect the reality of an autonomy that goes beyond the individual, a reality that involves a collective subject and includes solidarity. The opposition between these two values can then be resolved if the content of the notion of autonomy is understood to be dependent on its cultural context of application and on its social use.

Keywords

Individual autonomy Individual/collective Pathogenic solidarity Clinical encounter Medical secrecy Family autonomy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM)Cermes3, Site CNRSVillejuif CedexFrance

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