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An essay on 'health capital' and the Faustian bargains struck by workers in the globalised shipping industry

Bloor, Michael John 2011. An essay on 'health capital' and the Faustian bargains struck by workers in the globalised shipping industry. Sociology of Health & Illness 33 (7) , pp. 973-986. 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2011.01347.x

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It has long been understood that work directly generates ill health and disability through injuries and occupational exposure to toxic and carcinogenic materials, but the more complex relationship between work and ill health that is seemingly mediated through psychological distress is more controversial. For example, the ‘Karasek model’, whereby high job demands coupled with limited latitude in decision making were thought to generate ill health, has not been supported in large-scale surveys. This paper postulates an alternative linking mechanism between work and health, namely Mildred Blaxter’s concept of ‘health capital’, and specifically explores the value of the concept in understanding lay theorising about the links between labour intensification and self-perceived health: workers’ perceptions that their work has become more effortful may be bracketed with their belief that their continuing employment is demanding accelerating expenditure of their health capital. The argument is illustrated by qualitative interviews with an international sample of seafarers, a proto-typically globalised labour force.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
V Naval Science > VM Naval architecture. Shipbuilding. Marine engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: health capital; labour intensification; health inequalities; occupational health; lay epidemiology; seafaring
Publisher: Blackwell
ISSN: 0141-9889
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 02:42

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