IDS working papers;287

‘I’ve got the dust as well’ : asbestos disease, litigation and laggers

Published on 1 January 2007

Asbestos diseases are closely associated with cancer and death. They are therefore
widely recognised for their insidious, fearsome and tainted nature. Through an
examination of stress associated with disease, the paper explores the medical and
legal framings of asbestos disease in the UK and complements them with an
investigation of laggers’ (or thermal insulation engineers) personal and bodily
experience of asbestos diseases. These emic perspectives are then contextualised
through examination of the social and political-economic ramifications of disease
and litigation in a context of increasing distrust of science and of authority. The
paper argues that victims of asbestos-related diseases draw on – and extend –
medical and statistical estimations of disease; but also challenge medical notions of
cause and effect while advancing their perspective based on lived experience. The
paper also shows that laggers are facing uncertain futures as a result of industrial
exposure to asbestos, while their way of life and socio-economic standing is also
under threat.
Keywords: asbestos, laggers, thermal installation engineers, medical & legal,
definitions of disease, science & trust

Publication details

published by
Waldman, Linda


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