Occupational Health Services and the Socialization of the post-Fordist Employee

  • Christian Maravelias
Keywords: self-governing, health promotion, medicalization, post-Fordism


There is a heightened interest in the health of employees among scholars, employers, legislators, and employees themselves. The concern for employees’ health is not a new phenomenon. It has held a central position in political and economic discourses throughout most of the twentieth century. The central argument of this article, however, is that the economic and political changes of the last three decades – the neo-liberal turn – have played a part in altering the very notion of health so that the healthy individual is now a person who not merely passes bio-medical tests, but a person who also leads a particular life and possesses particular skills, namely, those of the active, positive, and self-governing individual. By means of a qualitative study of the sector for occupational health services (OHSs) in Sweden, this article will show how an active lifestyle has become a defining criterion of health. Furthermore, it will describe how health thereby becomes a question of choice and responsibility and how the healthy employee comes across as morally superior to the unhealthy employee. In this connection, this article shows how health experts such as therapists, health coaches, physicians, and so on become important points of authority in the fashioning of the new healthy, active employee.

Author Biography

Christian Maravelias
School of Business, Stockholm University
How to Cite
Maravelias, C. (2012). Occupational Health Services and the Socialization of the post-Fordist Employee. Nordic Journal of Social Research, 3. https://doi.org/10.7577/njsr.2060