Samuel Blouin

Study program:
PhD Sociology and Religious Science
Current affiliation:
Université de Montréal | Université de Lausanne

Samuel Blouin (sociology and religious studies, Université de Montréal and Université de Lausanne): Drawing on field research, Samuel is analyzing how two approaches to assisted dying – Quebec’s and Vaud, Switzerland’s – are testing boundaries in medicine, law, and life itself.

Doctoral research

The Administration of Death, from Words to Deeds: Comparison of Two Assistance in Dying Regimes (Québec, Canton of Vaud)

Samuel’s dissertation project, already underway, focuses on two practices: medical aid in dying in Québec, and assisted suicide in the county of Vaud, Switzerland. From the public’s reaction to medically assisted dying to the institutionalization of assisted-dying practices, Samuel is interested in the way people deliberate these issues, individually and collectively. He is studying how people work such an intimate matter as death into issues of broader societal debate – the healthcare system, criminal justice, shared values, the role of government – and develop means to cope with the challenges created by assisted death (legalization, decriminalization, the delegation of decisions to associations). In Quebec and in Vaud, Samuel will examine what he calls the “administration of death” in the dual sense: that of (self‑)administering death, and that of managing the process of (self‑)administering it.

Samuel Blouin is a doctoral student under joint supervision at the Department of Sociology at the Université de Montréal and the Institute of Social Sciences of Contemporary Religion at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology at the Université de Montréal in just four years, and he actively defends and promotes human rights as an executive member of the Ligue des droits et libertés.

In addition to working on his doctoral dissertation, Samuel coordinates Professor Valérie Amiraux’s activities as Canada Research Chair in Religious Pluralism and Ethnicity. This work has involved him in developing research projects and preparing sociological expertise for legal affairs. He has also published academic texts and presented his work at several colloquia. Samuel has studied in Germany (2013), has taken part in a week of workshops in France on international cooperation against discrimination (2013), and was a visiting student in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence (2014).

Samuel’s involvement does not stop here. At the university, he has shared his enthusiasm by serving on several committees in his department. Outside the university setting, but still related to his field of study, he works with the Ligue des droits et libertés, most often the secularism, racism, and social exclusion committee and the Aboriginal rights committee. Samuel’s social dedication was recognized by the Desjardins Foundation, which awarded him its Cooperation and Democracy prize in 2012.