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From Occupational Health to Nuclear Safety: A study of the Ongoing Controversy Surrounding Subcontracting and Precarity at Work in the French Nuclear Industry

March 5, 2020 - 4:30pm
Building 200, Room 202
Speaker(s): 
Marie Ghis Malfilatre, visiting postdoctoral scholar at CiSAC from INSERM

This talk examines processes of normalization around radioactivity hazards from the perspective of labor organizations in nuclear facilities. Initially, risks of occupational exposure to radioactivity gave rise to a series of alerts and mobilizations in the first half of the 20th century – particularly in France and the United States. Yet, how can we explain that those issues remained outside public spaces after WWII, even though the number of nuclear workers increased considerably? In that regard, I focus on how the organization of work in nuclear facilities has contributed to the normalization of nuclear risks through a two-fold process. First, by dividing work collectives and secondly, by delegating the most dangerous activities to workers with a precarious employment status. While outsourcing for companies is generally a management tool that increases labor productivity, it is also a technopolitical tool that attempts to manage occupational risks and making them socially invisible. Lastly, I will explore how workers and some of their representatives have considered this issue in two of the main French nuclear facilities.

Event Sponsor: 
Co-Sponsored by STS