Occupational Health, Risk and Science in India's Global Factories

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This article explores the relationship between health, culture and society in contemporary India by examining how occupational health risks are constructed and circulate at new sites of industrial production. This article argues that these sites of global industry can offer an important contribution to debates about the political economy of science, biomedicine and public health by revealing notions of risk that are neither scientific nor public but variously and simultaneously empirical, calculating, affective, relational and structural. On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork in a large-scale diamond manufacturing unit in a special economic zone in Andhra Pradesh, I show how biomedical and scientific knowledge, technocratic codes of conduct, the forces of global competition, craft knowledge and the lived experience of labour under conditions of economic insecurity all figure in an understanding and evaluation of risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-238
JournalSouth Asian History and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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