CANCELED: Labor, Health, and Precarity in the French Nuclear Industry



Marie Ghis Malfilatre, Sciences Po Grenoble

Date and Time

March 12, 2020 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

CISAC will be canceling all public events and seminars until at least April 5th due to the ongoing developments associated with COVID-19.



Abstract: Since the opening of their first facilities, French nuclear companies chose to entrust some (or all, since the 1980s) of their maintenance procedures –the work presenting the greatest work-related hazards –to subcontractors. Starting to the 1970's, a controversy arose about working conditions and the using of employees of subcontracting companies for the operations that were most exposed to radioactive hazards. While subcontracting became endemic to the nuclear industry in France and around the world, there are still few social science studies based on direct research with nuclear maintenance employees, and fewer still addressing workplace health issues.This intervention will describe the processes of problematization of labour and recourse to subcontractors in nuclear industry. It will help understanding why the issue in occupational health do not gain more social visibility. Historical ethnography is the chosen approach. It combines observations, interviews and work in the archives.

Speaker's Biography: Marie Ghis Malfilatre has been a postdoctoral fellow at INSERM, in Paris since January 2019. She is also lecturer in sociology at Sciences Po Grenoble. Defendedat the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, her thesis focuseson labor, health, and precarity in the French nuclear industry. Itoffersan interdisciplinary examination of occupational health controversies among both salariedand subcontracted workers at two of France’s principalnuclear facilities: the fuel reprocessing plant at La Hague, and the pressurizedwater reactors at Chinon. Hercurrent researchaims at understanding the interactions between law, medical expertise,and political power when it comes to recognizing radiation-induced occupational diseases. It unveilsdynamics amongknowledge, recognition,and ignorance of occupational health issues, and shows how the nuclear industry exemplifieslogics and issues at stake in many other professional domains.