Repressive authenticity in the quest for legitimacy: Surveillance and the contested illness lawsuit
When 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.
If 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.
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|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- 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.
- Trundle, Catherine, 2011. "Biopolitical endpoints: Diagnosing a deserving British nuclear test veteran," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(6), pages 882-888, September.
- Glenton, Claire, 2003. "Chronic back pain sufferers--striving for the sick role," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(11), pages 2243-2252, December.
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:75:y:2012:i:10:p:1762-1768. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.