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RHEA Research Seminar: "Converting care to politics: An ethnographic inquiry about health rights for precarious status immigrants in Belgium"

maandag, 7 mei, 2018 - 12:30 to maandag, 7 mei, 2018 - 14:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Pleinlaan 5
Van Gogh room (5.61)

By Dirk Lafaut, PhD Candidate (FWO) at Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Health care rights are one of the few rights that precarious status immigrants are formally entitled to in Belgian national legislation. They go through a parallel administrative procedure through which enables them to obtain a medical card, a 3-month permit to access the regular health care services. Recently, the bureaucratic control activities that come with this procedure are increasingly outsourced to humanitarian organizations, thus shifting responsibilities to the private sphere. Our observations show this leads to selectivity, amongst others, to ethnic differentiation and gendering of access to health care. However, our research also shows this offers some humanitarian actors and leaders of collectives of undocumented migrants an important strategic tool, where the control over the distribution of the medical card is used as a leverage to mobilize people for political protests.