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Discourses about electricians in vocational education
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Education.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences, Occupational health science. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Students in vocational education to become electricians have an increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) once in the workforce compared to most other blue collar professions (Toomingas et al., 2014). This increased risk comes from having to work in awkward body positions, with heavy and sometimes poorly adapted tools and with time constraints. Many end up with chronic disabilities, forcing them to change careers or to go on sickness pension. Besides the significant and damaging consequences for the individual concerned, losing electricians from the workforce is a significant loss for the building industry in which electricians these days are scarce, and for society that not only loses tax-incomes but also possibly need to pay sickness pension for these people during quite a few years. It is therefore important to find ways to prevent MSDs and to promote good ergonomics in the building industry in general and among electricians specifically. Electricians’ knowledge and habits regarding MSDs are first formed and shaped in school, during vocational education to become an electrician. Drawing on the ideas of bio-power and governmentality, as introduced and developed by Foucault (1988, 1990, 2003) and developed by Rose (1999; Rabinow and Rose, 2006), discourses govern how it is possible to think and act. From this standpoint, then, talk and discourses are not perceived as innocent or ‘mere’ talk (Hall, 2001) but as governing the production, regulation and representation of both bodies and subjects through the acquisition of specific dispositions, tastes and abilities (Foucault, 1988; Rose, 1999). Thus, discourses drawn on in school about electricians and the profession govern how it is possible to think and act about oneself and others in relation to both ergonomics and MSD and, by extension, have material effects on electricians’ health. This means that, to foster healthy ergonomics one needs to consider how electricians and the profession are conceived and thought about in school, i.e. how electricians and the profession are discursively conceived. The purpose of this paper is thus to explore discursive constructions of electricians and the profession as these are expressed in discussions about MSDs in the vocational education and school context. Methods used are four focus group interviews: two with students, one with teachers and one with school management at one senior high school program for electricians. In the focus group interviews the participants were asked to discuss ideas about causes and reasons to why electricians develop MSDs, consequences and effects of MSDs and ideas about what could be done to prevent MSDs. The interviews were then transcribed and discursively analyzed with questions in mind about how each group conceived of electricians and the profession.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Vocational education, electrician, musculoskeletal disease, ergonomics, discourse
National Category
Pedagogy Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-27010DiVA, id: diva2:1218122
Conference
IAACS 2018 'Transnational Curriculum Inquiry: Challenges and Opportunities in a Changing World', 9-12 December, Victoria, Australia
Available from: 2018-06-14 Created: 2018-06-14 Last updated: 2018-06-18Bibliographically approved

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Björklund, ErikaNordlöf, HasseDjupsjöbacka, Mats

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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  • ieee
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Output format
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