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Whose Lyme is it anyway? Subject positions and the construction of responsibility for managing the health risks from Lyme disease.

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There has been a significant increase during the last decade in the UK of the incidence of the
Lyme disease. It is transmitted through tick bites, and can have serious health consequences if not treated early. This study examined how the responsibility for managing and communicating the health risks from
Lyme disease to forest workers and recreational visitors was constructed and acted upon by 21 interviewees in key managerial positions within one of the largest UK forestry organisations. The in-depth, semi-structured interviews were analysed using discourse analysis within a Foucauldian framework. The results demonstrated that the construction of responsibility towards the workforce and visitors was embedded into broader representations of the forest as a working, recreational and natural environment, as well as into the binary conceptualisation of forest hazards as natural and human-made. These constructions prescribed respective subject positions which differentially informed assumptions of responsibility, and consequent actions, towards the workforce and the public.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Health Place. 2012 Sep;18(5):1101-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.04.012. Epub 2012 May 8.

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