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Disease, demography, and the Debr Solution: stolen lives and broken promises, 1946 to 2006 and back to 1966

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This essay will focus first on the 2006 chikungunya epidemic, then on the 1960s adoption policies that became part of the package of solutions put in place by Michel Debr, the then dput of Reunion, as a means of dealing with the twinned problems of population explosion and unemployment in the department. Reunion Island is the fourth, least visible, most isolated of the four original dpartements d'Outre-mer. Reunion seems to become significant and visible in public discourse only when it is the site of catastrophic natural, medical or political events. This DOM's challenge in the areas of health, life and equality in the face of risk must be grasped on its own terms and within its own contexts, not through the lens of Republican universalism.

Keywords: Debr; Reunion Island; adoption; chikungunya; development; disaster; kinship; postmodernity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: UCLA.

Publication date: June 16, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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