Uncertain resistance : an ethnography of an injured workers association and its relations with a Workers' Compensation Board

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Moritz, Ann Laraine
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Arts and Science, 1996
This thesis is an ethnographic account of how people in a particular situation of bureaucratic domination developed tactics and adopted discourses to present themselves as active agents capable of mobilizing resources, individually and at a collective level. Specifically, it involves a description and analysis of power dynamics, experienced efficacy, and associated processes of defining self and others in the context of a newly forming injured workers support group in their relations with a Workers' Compensation Board. Appropriate to the study of an injured workers group, the thesis draws upon a body of literature which focuses on the everyday practices of people in concrete social contexts. James C. Scott's work on domination and resistance privides a primary framework for the study, elaborated by Michel De Certeau's concepts of 'strategy' and 'tactic' as well as Foucault's notion of 'carceral' networks. Among the main findings was the recognition of the extent to which individual group members engaged in creative, and often effective tactical acts of resistance against the WCB and yet also against their own formal association. Moreover, as the group appropriated elements of bureaucratic and trade union discourses it shifted toward also engaging in strategic social action. The thesis concludes with practical recommendations concerning the ways such associations are formed and operate, as well as policy options for workers' compensation boards in general.
ix, 215 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Power (Social sciences) -- Case studies , Dominance (Psychology) -- Case studies , Bureaucracy -- Alberta -- Case studies , Workers' Compensation Board -- Alberta , Dissertations, Academic