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In the Hand or in the Head? Contextualising the Debate about Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

  • Joyce E. Canaan
Chapter

Abstract

Several of the contributors to this volume have examined changing patterns of occupational risk linked with changing forms of work and employment in the global economy. This theme is explored in more detail in this chapter, which maps the rising incidence of a particular group of conditions collectively known as repetitive strain injury (RSI). The author demonstrates the importance of linking materialist and social constructionist accounts of occupational disease and injury. On the one hand, the growth of RSI can be linked to social and economic trends such as changes in work organisation and control of the labour process. On the other, the lack of medical and scientific consensus about the nature of RSI reveals the limitations of conventional reductionist models of disease that differentiate between ‘real’ illness residing in the body and ‘unreal’ illnesses originating in the mind. Neither of these approaches addresses the complexity of conditions such as RSI. Further, as in the case of a growing number of health problems, the insistence upon a dualist interpretation often serves to discredit and disempower the victims. This chapter presents a cogent case for a new understanding that recognises the links between mind and body in the causation of work-related ill health.

Keywords

Occupational Health Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Critical Perspective Informational Technology Repetitive Strain Injury 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Joyce E. Canaan 1999

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  • Joyce E. Canaan

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