Trading health for money: agential struggles in the (re)configuartion of subjectivity, the body and pain among construction workers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Construction work is physically demanding and often associated with bodily pain. This article presents a study of construction workers’ practices of using and relating to their bodies at work through an agential realist framework for analysing the (re)configuration of the workers’ embodied subjectivity. The analysis draws on interviews with 32 Danish construction workers as well as brief observations. The article shows how ‘trading health for money’ becomes a mode for maintaining positive social, occupational and masculine identity among construction workers. Furthermore, it shows how the agency of the body is overruled by the intra-acting agencies of productivity, collegiality, job security and masculine working-class identity. Finally, it shows an instability in this configuration of masculine working-class identity that leaves room for a focus on the body.


External organisations
  • National Research Centre for the Working Environment
  • Roskilde University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-903
Number of pages17
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number6
Early online date2016 Oct 1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch