Residency Medici | Anne-Claire Defossez and Didier Fassin, sociologist and anthropologist

Born in 1956 in Zweibrücken, Germany, Anne-Claire Defossez is a sociologist. She is a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton.

As a research assistant at the Institute for Advanced Studies of Latin America, she first conducted research on street children in Colombia as part of an ex-Orstom project and on the health of women in Ecuador as part of an Inserm program. She was later a consultant in the fields of social, educational, and employment policies for local authorities and French ministries as well as the European Union. She subsequently held general management positions in two large cities in the Parisian region, notably in charge of cultural politics and international cooperation. Since her arrival at the Institute for Advanced Study, she has led research on women in French politics. She coedited the volume Mujeres de los Andes.


Born in 1955 in Juvisy-sur-Orge, Didier Fassin is a physician and an anthropologist. Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, à Princeton, and director of studies at l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales, he is Professor to Annual Chair in Public Health at the Collège de France.

After having been a university hospital doctor in internal medicine, he turned to the social sciences, conducting research on medicine in the urban areas of Senegal, on women’s health in Ecuador, on AIDS in South African and on humanitarianism from an international perspective. His most recent work focuses on the police, justice and prison systems in France. He has given the Tanner Lectures on punishment and the Adorno Lectures on the politics of life. Recipient of the Gold Medal of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography and of the Nomis Distinguished Scientist Award for a program entitled Global Crisis, he gave his inaugural lecture at the Collège de France on the inequality of lives. Former vice president of Doctors without Borders, he currently presides over Comede, Committee for the Health of Exiles. Polity recently published Life A Critical User’s Manual and Death of a Traveller. A Counter-Investigation.


The project of their writing residency at the Villa Medici is about migrations on the Franco-Italian border in the Alps, focusing in particular on the experience of those who cross it at the temporary ending of a several-year journey and on the existing tensions between local solidarity and repressive policies.