Troubling Pain and Prejudice

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 22:30

Join Karen Messing and Pat Armstrong us for the launch of two great books: Pain and Prejudice: What Science Can Learn about Work from the People that Do It by Karen Messing (BTL), and Troubling Care: Critical Perspectives on Research and Practices, Edited by Pat Armstrong, Susan Braedley (CSPI)

Karen Messing is an award-winning (including a Governor General of Canada award) and internationally recognized expert on occupational health. She is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Pat Armstrong is Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University and is the author, co-author, or editor of over 25 books and dozens of book chapters and journal articles.

Pain and Prejudice: In 1978, when workers at a nearby phosphate refinery learned that the ore they processed was contaminated with radioactive dust, Karen Messing, then a new professor of molecular genetics, was called in to help. Unsure of what to do with her discovery that exposure to the radiation was harming the workers and their families, Messing contacted senior colleagues but they wouldn’t help. Neither the refinery company nor the scientific community was interested in the scary results of her chromosome studies.

Over the next decades Messing encountered many more cases of workers around the world—factory workers, cleaners, checkout clerks, bank tellers, food servers, nurses, teachers—suffering and in pain without any help from the very scientists and occupational health experts whose work was supposed to make their lives easier. Arguing that rules for scientific practice can make it hard to see what really makes workers sick, in Pain and Prejudice Messing tells the story of how she went from looking at test tubes to listening to workers.

Troubling Care Using the example of residential services, Troubling Care: Critical Perspectives on Research and Practices investigates the fractures in our care systems and challenges how caring work is understood in social policy, in academic theory, and among health care providers. In this era defined by government cutbacks and a narrowing sense of collective responsibility, long-term residential care for the elderly and disabled is being undervalued and undermined.

A result of a seven-year interdisciplinary research project-in-progress, this book draws together the work of fourteen leading health researchers, including sociologists, medical practitioners, social workers, policy researchers, cultural theorists, and historians. Using a feminist political economy lens, these scholars explore and challenge the theories, work organization, practices, and state-society relations that have come to shape long-term care.

 

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