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Safety Politics and Risk Perceptions in Malaysian Industry

Wangel, Arne LU (1997) In Lund Dissertations in Sociology 16.
Abstract
The thesis concerns risk and safety in manufacturing companies in a developing country. Risk and safety is viewed as integral to the social relations between management and labour. The Malaysian case presents a historical conjuncture of this conflict theme, which is very different from that of its Western genesis. On this basis, the primary objective of the thesis is defined as an effort to escape the established codification of work hazards and to trace how perceptions of risk at work are formed and regulations develop. The thesis brings together a range of theoretical contributions aimed at grasping individual experience, the formation of common sense knowledge, subjectivity in the labour process, state policies, factory regimes, and... (More)
The thesis concerns risk and safety in manufacturing companies in a developing country. Risk and safety is viewed as integral to the social relations between management and labour. The Malaysian case presents a historical conjuncture of this conflict theme, which is very different from that of its Western genesis. On this basis, the primary objective of the thesis is defined as an effort to escape the established codification of work hazards and to trace how perceptions of risk at work are formed and regulations develop. The thesis brings together a range of theoretical contributions aimed at grasping individual experience, the formation of common sense knowledge, subjectivity in the labour process, state policies, factory regimes, and institutional developments. The theories are discussed and applied in ways that seek to join them together as parts of a phenomenological sociology of knowledge. The primary data originate from extensive field studies 1989-92, which included qualitative interviewing, direct observation and company cases. The 'deconstruction' of legal notions about work injury to be compensated with monetary benefits, is achieved through, i.a. a focus on workers' subjectivity in the labour process. The apathy so often observed is shown to be the outcome of a process by which 'local theory' is defined through successive managerial rejections of workers' experiences of discomfort and fear. The thesis further concludes that production politics on the factory floor is strongly influenced by the structuring provided by government regulation of fields of conflict and the resources available to the two parties. In brief, a despotic labour regime at the national level dominates any effort at safety activity, whether it is initiated by workers or represents models of safety management. Finally, a critique of current safety paradigms calls for a conception of risk at work, which does not focus the building of power and knowledge resources on injury compensation, but raises the perspective of workers themselves administrating their working environment. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Prof. Holmström, Mark, University of East Anglia
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Malaysia, metal industries, manufacturing sector, working environment, safety politics, risk perceptions, occupational safety and health, labour process, labour-management relations, Sociology of work, industrial relations, South-East Asia, Sociology of labour, sociology of enterprise, Arbetslivssociologi, företagssociologi
in
Lund Dissertations in Sociology
volume
16
pages
404 pages
publisher
Department of Sociology, Lund University
defense location
Carolinasalen
defense date
1997-06-05 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN: LUSADG/SASO-97/1104/SE
ISSN
1102-4712
ISBN
91-89078-06-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
586633a0-64db-453d-9dc6-1112693f946a (old id 18359)
date added to LUP
2007-05-24 12:55:38
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:59
@phdthesis{586633a0-64db-453d-9dc6-1112693f946a,
  abstract     = {The thesis concerns risk and safety in manufacturing companies in a developing country. Risk and safety is viewed as integral to the social relations between management and labour. The Malaysian case presents a historical conjuncture of this conflict theme, which is very different from that of its Western genesis. On this basis, the primary objective of the thesis is defined as an effort to escape the established codification of work hazards and to trace how perceptions of risk at work are formed and regulations develop. The thesis brings together a range of theoretical contributions aimed at grasping individual experience, the formation of common sense knowledge, subjectivity in the labour process, state policies, factory regimes, and institutional developments. The theories are discussed and applied in ways that seek to join them together as parts of a phenomenological sociology of knowledge. The primary data originate from extensive field studies 1989-92, which included qualitative interviewing, direct observation and company cases. The 'deconstruction' of legal notions about work injury to be compensated with monetary benefits, is achieved through, i.a. a focus on workers' subjectivity in the labour process. The apathy so often observed is shown to be the outcome of a process by which 'local theory' is defined through successive managerial rejections of workers' experiences of discomfort and fear. The thesis further concludes that production politics on the factory floor is strongly influenced by the structuring provided by government regulation of fields of conflict and the resources available to the two parties. In brief, a despotic labour regime at the national level dominates any effort at safety activity, whether it is initiated by workers or represents models of safety management. Finally, a critique of current safety paradigms calls for a conception of risk at work, which does not focus the building of power and knowledge resources on injury compensation, but raises the perspective of workers themselves administrating their working environment.},
  author       = {Wangel, Arne},
  isbn         = {91-89078-06-3},
  issn         = {1102-4712},
  keyword      = {Malaysia,metal industries,manufacturing sector,working environment,safety politics,risk perceptions,occupational safety and health,labour process,labour-management relations,Sociology of work,industrial relations,South-East Asia,Sociology of labour,sociology of enterprise,Arbetslivssociologi,företagssociologi},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {404},
  publisher    = {Department of Sociology, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund Dissertations in Sociology},
  title        = {Safety Politics and Risk Perceptions in Malaysian Industry},
  volume       = {16},
  year         = {1997},
}