Responsibility versus Accountability

Issues around the Concept of Obligation in Clinical Settings with Minors in Justice
By Anne Winter, Astrid Hirschelmann-Ambrosi

Since the late 1990s security has been a hotly debated topic in France. The problem of juvenile delinquents is exemplary in this context. A leitmotiv emerges: responsibility. But responsibility does not mean accountability. The psychic position and motivation of an adolescent has to be taken into account. After a brief presentation of the social, judicial and psychological issues around the concept of responsibility, an example of clinical interview with a teenager illustrates the conditions for the emergence of accountability and allows us to reflect on the clinical position and the possible strategies for professionals who ensure the educational and socio-judicial monitoring of adolescents, or the therapeutic work with them.


  • adolescence
  • judicial problematics
  • responsability/responsabilization
  • otherness
  • exchange
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