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Team 1 - Health, Vulnerabilites and Gender relations in the global South (SageSud)

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SAGESUD research team carries the INSERM label (ERL U1244)

Team Leader

Annabel Desgrées du Loû

Research themes

Populations through the lens of health and gender

The focus of our research team is on both health and gender, which are considered key markers of population and development issues in developed and developing countries alike. In turn, changes in health conditions and gender equity impact countries’ economic development and well-being. These changes are also central to the gradual strengthening of human capital in the Global South. In many ways, changes in health and gender conditions are one of the most striking aspects of the demographic dynamics in these countries.

Two main research topics have emerged from the work done by team members and their partners since 2008: the AIDS epidemic and new reproductive technologies. Both have been the subject of several research programs in recent years, generating numerous publications and PhD projects. The nature of the ongoing research projects suggests that the two research topics are also likely to shape most of our scientific activities in the years to come. Both topics are part of a research field that is undergoing deep transformations as a result of the rapid scientific advances in recent years. For example, the analysis of the spread of HIV has shifted the focus to prevention and treatment—highlighting the complexity of social and family contexts that determine health behavior. As gender relations tend to affect all stages of the disease, gender inequity is often singled out as a primary determinant of risk-taking and is now incorporated into prevention strategies. Similarly, the standard approaches to fertility and reproduction are being reshaped by the emergence (or re-emergence) of new diseases and the rapid dissemination of modern reproductive technologies beyond the boundaries of rich countries. These new developments are disrupting the traditionally kinship-based order of reproduction and parenthood, and setting the stage for new reproductive strategies among women and couples.

Adopting a social scientist’s approach to these issues is crucial to uncovering the specific social underpinnings of health and reproductive behavior in the Global South. Anthropology and demography provide the necessary tools for these analyses, which seek to provide new data and enrich the debate on the most effective public health policies. Our team’s approach is mainly based on qualitative and quantitative methodologies, such as longitudinal monitoring, spatial analysis, and field surveys. But it also aims to question some of the concepts and notions central to our own disciplines, including cross-cutting gender issues. We want to enlarge our perspectives by combining field surveys conducted in various countries (such as Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Vietnam, South Africa, Thailand, and Mexico), while incorporating the experience of more developed countries that often face similar situations. Developing countries are no as longer isolated as they used to be. The circulation of people, ideas, and technologies—but also of viruses—is accelerating and tends to blur geographical and social boundaries.


Researchers, Academics, and Senior Research Officers

PhD Candidates

Junior researchers

Members on contract

Hosted researchers

Research associates

Team’s research fields

Research projects