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Governing the workplace or the worker?: evolving dilemmas in chemical professionals' discourse on occupational health and safety
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2013 (English)In: Discourse & Communication, ISSN 1750-4813, E-ISSN 1750-4821, Vol. 7, no 1, p. 75-94Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyses occupational health and safety discourse, bringing special attention to dilemmas that emerge as employees name and negotiate particular risks and safety measures. The study is based on 46 interviews conducted with employees in three chemical factories, and combines Michel Foucault's conception of governmentality with a discursive psychology approach. The study demonstrates how dilemmas emerge when 1) respondents make others responsible for health and safety risks; 2) they personally assume responsibility as 'risky' workers; and 3) different rationalities - such as environmental and behavioural or hierarchical - appear in the same set of statements. Overall, occupational health and safety management tends to exclude egalitarian beliefs, which creates dilemmas that become visible as speakers find themselves compelled to excuse, ironize or systematically downplay discursive moves that may diminish or exclude themselves or others. Given that previous research suggests that behavioural approaches to health become increasingly widespread in working life, this article contributes by highlighting the presence of dilemmas that implies some flux and openness to change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 7, no 1, p. 75-94
Keywords [en]
Behaviour-based safety, chemical industry, collective prevention, discourse analysis, discursive psychology, dilemmas, Foucault, governmentality, individual prevention, naming, neoliberalism, organizational discourse, responsibilization, risk, safe design, Sweden, welfarism, workplace safety
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-29276DOI: 10.1177/1750481312466473ISI: 000317934600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-29276DiVA, id: diva2:624327
Available from: 2013-05-31 Created: 2013-05-31 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Rasmussen, Joel

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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Output format
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