Repressive authenticity in the quest for legitimacy: Surveillance and the contested illness lawsuit
AbstractWhen seeking compensation for workplace injury, workers predictably face examination over the legitimacy of their condition from employers and medical and legal professionals. When the alleged injury is a contested environmental illness, the suspicion aroused and the scrutiny faced by workers is much more acute. In this paper, I analyse the medico-legal experiences of eight chemically sensitive claimants in Australia to reveal the nature and extent of the surveillance they are subjected to in their quest to prove the legitimacy of their disease. Four forms of surveillance are identified: medical scrutiny; legal surveillance, insurer investigation, and self-regulation. Advancing the Foucauldian concept of self-surveillance, I demonstrate that this latter form of regulation has the most deleterious impact on the claimants. The result of this scrutiny is a ‘repressive authenticity’ (Wolfe, 1999), where the chemically sensitive are expected to adhere to a particular normative ideal of sickness, which becomes therapeutically counterproductive.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 75 (2012)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Clarke, Juanne N. & James, Susan, 2003. "The radicalized self: the impact on the self of the contested nature of the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1387-1395, October.
- Dumit, Joseph, 2006. "Illnesses you have to fight to get: Facts as forces in uncertain, emergent illnesses," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 577-590, February.
- Reid, Janice & Ewan, Christine & Lowy, Eva, 1991. "Pilgrimage of pain: The illness experiences of women with repetition strain injury and the search for credibility," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 601-612, January.
- Glenton, Claire, 2003. "Chronic back pain sufferers--striving for the sick role," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(11), pages 2243-2252, December.
- Trundle, Catherine, 2011. "Biopolitical endpoints: Diagnosing a deserving British nuclear test veteran," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(6), pages 882-888, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.