The Man Made World: The Social Production of Health and Disablement in Construction Workers
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This study focuses on the mechanisms through which systems of inequality operate in relationship to health and disablement processes. Using quantitative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 and qualitative data from in-depth interviews with twelve construction workers in the southeastern United States, this study evaluates the relationships among race, class, gender, and occupation in the health of male construction workers. More specifically, this research examines white working-class masculinity in the context of working within the construction industry, and in relationship to health and disability processes. Each chapter in this dissertation focuses on one of three primary research questions. First, how do race, class, gender, and occupation shape the health of construction workers? Second, how does working-class masculinity and occupation affect patterns of disablement among construction workers, and how do they experience these processes? And finally, how do social inequalities shape bodies? This study finds that race, class, gender, and occupation all play multiple roles in the health and disablement processes of workers. These findings also suggest that a re-conceptualization of disability as a process is necessary to best reflect the experiences associated with occupational disability. Finally, these findings point to the body as a social process, with direct ties to the larger social structure and systems of inequality. This study extends our conceptualizations of health, disablement, and the body as processes. In addition, it illuminates the mechanisms through which systems of complex inequalities operate to create health disparities.
- Doctoral Dissertations