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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31854

Title: The Politics of Collaborative Prevention: A Sociological Account of Commemoratives and a Young Worker Safety Campaign
Authors: Mansfield, Elizabeth
Advisor: Eakin, Joan
Department: Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Keywords: prevention
occupational health and safety
collective memory
discourse analysis
young worker
safety culture
occupational fatality
collaborative prevention discourse
consensus commemoratives
critical commemoratives
workplace safety
Issue Date: 10-Jan-2012
Abstract: In public health, prevention is a fundamentally political process as both the selection of problems to be addressed and solutions recommended reflect decisions that are informed by economic, social and cultural forces. Yet prevention is often presented as a monolithic enterprise, an objective and scientific discourse that does not take sides. Behind this facade of political neutrality, diversely positioned individuals and groups often fail to find and/or sustain a common ground for shared prevention initiatives. Increasingly, many prevention awareness campaigns focus upon true accounts or injury narratives that serve both as a catalyst to build multipartite consensus through developing shared collaborative prevention discourses and practices and to mobilize public support for health and safety issues. While the use of the true account form is a recommended strategy in the public health literature directed toward practitioners, the engagement of true accounts in prevention campaigns has not been adequately problematised and examined from a critical social theoretical perspective. A qualitative, sociologically oriented case study of the use of the true account form, the commemorative, in young worker safety campaigns is proposed to deepen our understanding of this particular type of prevention intervention in particular and prevention as an enterprise more generally. The study investigates the socio-historical context in which the Young Worker Memorial LifeQuilt, a Canadian young worker educational initiative, emerged and unraveled as a multipartite prevention campaign centered upon the true account form of consensus commemoratives. A key finding is that true accounts of young workers killed on the job are socially mediated to diffuse blame and build consensus between diversely positioned occupational health and safety practitioners and the family survivors of workplace tragedies. What is included and excluded from these true accounts of workplace injuries, as socially constructed narratives in multipartite prevention awareness campaigns, may be, in part, a product of the terms and conditions negotiated between lead players. The true accounts included in collaborative, cross-institutional prevention campaigns, while referencing real events, may be told in ways that accommodate and harmonize the political perspectives of diversely positioned stakeholders. Conversely, the true account form is a potentially problematic strategy for collaborative prevention discourses and practices, as consensus commemoratives can be retold as critical remembrances of workplace death, with the result that the unifying narrative of a shared, collective memory project is undermined. This dissertation finds that the activity of collaboration shapes prevention as a socio-political activity/practice.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31854
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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