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[An investigation in two maternity clinics catering to the upper-class: constituting ordinary goods into scarce commodities]

Abstract : Scholarship on social inequalities in health tend to focus on health among the working class, and growingly on the health of migrants in situations of administrative and social insecurity. This however overlooks what the health of the dominant classes reveals about social inequalities. This investigation was carried out in two private maternity clinics in the Paris region, on the basis of interviews and observation. It underscores how ? despite their weak level of medical specialization and technical expertise ? these clinics manage to attract and retain a privileged national and international customer base by revamping an ordinary medical offer into a scarce and distinctive commodity. In the first maternity clinic, catering to women belonging to the economic pole of dominant classes, customer retention is fostered through luxury hotel services as well as the provision of medical examinations and treatments hailed as unavailable in other hospitals – notably in the public sector. In the second maternity clinic, catering to women relatively more endowed in cultural capitals, customer retention is fostered through the promotion of obstetric practices minimizing technical medical gestures. These two maternity cli nics also differ in terms of their relations with international clients. The first clinic seeks to attract international customers through a culturalist approach that legitimizes practices that diverge from medical standards on the basis of a universalizing rhetoric.
Mots-clés : Pratique spatiale
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Submitted on : Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 7:05:17 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 4:16:05 PM

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Maud Gelly, Paula Cristofalo, Clelia Gasquet. [An investigation in two maternity clinics catering to the upper-class: constituting ordinary goods into scarce commodities]. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, Editions du Seuil, 2021, N° 236-237 (1), pp.72-91. ⟨10.3917/arss.236.0072⟩. ⟨hal-03313353⟩

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