This article retraces the emergence in France of the concept of «psychic handicap» (handicap psychique) in the wake of the introduction in such country of the Icf philosophy. Starting from an ethnographic fi eldwork realized in the psychiatric ward of a University hospital in the Parisian region, we try at fi rst glance to analyze some very localized critical operations governing the social life of such concept between two distinct and interrelated social fi elds: the one of cognitive psychiatry and the one of families and users associations, considered as «moral entrepreneurs» of the psychic handicap. As a second step, we try more globally to shape a moral genealogy re-interpreting the social claim for such concept as a part of the «suffering politics» which have been partially redefi ning the collective meaning of French social and health policies during the last years. The fi nal part of the article calls for a critical sociological approach to social claims in psychiatry and mental health.