Workplace injury and the failing academic body: A testimony of pain

Helena Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores how meanings around risk, health/safety, and workers’ bodies are constructed in an academic context. I do so through the study of a single academic in Australia who sustained a back injury at work. Through an analysis of in-depth interviews and documents, I attempt to show the embodied experience of an injured worker’s struggle for care, recovery, and survival in the neoliberal academy. Writing from the nexus of workplace health and safety and critical management literatures, the raw testimony of this injured academic lays bare the violences that are enabled within a wider culture of self-discipline, individualism, and performativity in the university. The story presented in this article exposes how physiological and psychological injuries can be exacerbated through the very health and safety procedures that are designed to prevent and alleviate harm. Please note that this article contains references to suicide and suicidal ideation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-352
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date19 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


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