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Accounting for human rights: doxic health and safety practices - the accounting lessons from ICL

Cooper, C. and Coulson, A.B. and Taylor, Philip (2010) Accounting for human rights: doxic health and safety practices - the accounting lessons from ICL. In: APIRA Conference, 2010-07-11 - 2010-07-13. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with a specific human right – the right to work in a safe environment. It sets out a case for developing a new form of account of health and safety in any organisational setting. It draws upon the theoretical insights of Pierre Bourdieu taking inspiration from his assertion that in order to understand the “logic” of the worlds we live in we need to immerse ourselves into the particularity of an empirical reality. In this case the paper, analyses a preventable industrial disaster which occurred in Glasgow, Scotland which killed nine people1 and injured 33 others. The paper unearths the underlying structures of symbolic violence of the UK State, the Health and Safety Executive and capital with respect to health and safety at work in the case. While dealing with one specific country (Scotland) and arguably an anomalous event we contend that Bourdieu’s objective of constructing a special case of what is possible can equally be used to question health and safety regimes and other forms of symbolic violence across the globe.