The Aurelia project aims at analysing autonomy regimes, defined as the organisational modalities of autonomy support. They result from social discourses, institutionalised norms and concrete aid measures, but also from the daily practices of carrying out support tasks for frail elderly and for people with disability (objective 1 & 2). This project combines a comparative analysis of the policy instruments design, in relation to specialized debates and social discourses, but also with the implementation procedures, and the concrete practices of support for autonomy, as well as the different dimensions of their reception by the public concerned and unformal carers. This project will capture these regimes at the territorial level, in articulation with national systems, territories and individual situations.

The Aurelia project develops three articulated objectives:

  • Analysis of the tensions between norms and practices of long term care;
  • Analysis of the tensions between national, territorial and individual policy scales of regulation long term care provision;
  • A reading of the autonomy regimes through the analytical lens of instrumentation, as the instruments deploy concrete provision and organise power relations in a given policy domain and between them (capacities, financial resources, obligations, information, etc.). Concretely, the project focuses on the instruments assessing autonomy loss, the doctrines of rehabilitation, but also the tools for compensating autonomy loss. In the case of those instruments, autonomy is simultaneously constructed by representations, scientific knowledge, and especially medical and professional knowledge. These instruments also give rise to acts of implementation, appropriation - or circumvention - by the public. The project analyses public discourses insofar as they contribute to defining the content of the notion of autonomy in policy making, contribute to forging policy instruments, but also to structure professional or lay knowledge corpuses that guides both the practices of implementing measures and the informal acts of autonomy support that take place at home. Finally, the Aurelia project produces analyses of autonomy as a norm, located at the intersection between differentiated social orders, driven by actors anchored at various scales and individual expectations. 


The project is based on a pluralistic research methodology. It is based on qualitative analyses of discourses, public policies - and specifically of instruments -, interviews of actors involved in the decision or implementation of instruments, as well as of informal actors and recipients of the various measures and practices of autonomy support. The quantitative analyses will capture the disparities of territories and characterise the autonomy regimes of specific context: equipment, policy implementation and take up, varieties in the modes of care, socio-economic indicators, but also the configurations of actors and care around the beneficiaries.