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Haxaire Claudie

Anthropologist, lecturer, University of Bretagne Occidentale

Contact: claudie.haxaire(at)



Claudie Haxaire is a pharmacist raised in Africa. She specialised in tropical botany after her degree, with the goal of carrying out research in ethno-pharmacology, following the path of her mentors Kerharo and Boiteau. Her initial field work, in multidisciplinary teams that included ethnologists and ethno-linguists, led her to work from an emic perspective. Her thesis is organised using the categories of her Gbaya (CAR) interlocutors. Upon her return to France, she trained in social and cultural anthropology at the EHESS with M. Augé. He suggested she make a detour through general anthropology in order to understand illness and remedies, rather than restrict her interest solely to these first two fields. In France, she wished to apply – here and now and to drugs from the pharmaceutical industry – the approach developed in Africa to understand the medicine/remedy system. She answered a grant tender to the MIRE “medicines and mental health” along with two speech analysts, proposing an approach borrowed from ethno-methodology in order to understand the practical knowledge of ordinary consumers of psychotropic medicines, who were clients of general practitioners. In Brittany, she then continued her research on these general practitioner prescribers, concluding with an exploration of one of their operational categories: that of the “psy” patient. She then developed a research project at the request of a medical team that observed the distress and suffering of some families living with a risk of thrombosis. It focused on the management of risk and practical knowledge concerning prevention devised by these families in their interaction with the teams.

At the outset, her research in the Ivory Coast included the issue of industrial drugs – some of which came from alternative sources – used at the local level for the treatment of STDs and as anti-malarial drugs. It continued within the framework of the Globalmed (Baxerre-Cassier) project on the joint development of the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory institutions in the field of pharmaceuticals. She will study their future development after the setting up of these agencies at the regional level.

In addition, in the Guro ethnic group, she is resuming the study of “illness masks” within the historical and sociological context of the crises experienced and overcome by that society since conquest. Furthermore, she is analysing the consequences of the patrimonialisation of one of their “beautiful” avatars, Zaouli. Finally – in collaboration with the laboratory of pharmacognosia at the Faculty of Pharmacy at Felix Houphouët Boigny University in Cocody – she is resuming the study of the traditional Guro pharmacopeia, focusing particularly on the organisation and transmission of knowledge concerning it.

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