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Cadernos de Psicologia Social do Trabalho

Print version ISSN 1516-3717


MOULIN, Maria das Graças Barbosa. Of heroes and martyrs: visions of the world and work accidents in the ornamental rocks sector. Cad. psicol. soc. trab. [online]. 2007, vol.10, n.1, pp. 37-53. ISSN 1516-3717.

The article analyses the social construction of workers and land owners that change from a rural status to the position of industrial workers and entrepreneurs during the early period of the process of extracting and benefiting marble and granite in the south of Espirito Santo. It is a dangerous activity which has resulted in an elevated rate of fatal and injuring accidents. It is the objective of this paper to investigate the possibility of seeing the social tolerance to the accidents as being anchored on cultural aspects that make the accident “acceptable”. The methodological approach used was the collection Life Stories of the retired workers and old businessmen, rebuilding their “way of life” from memory. The work, rude and brute, demanded testimonies of health and virility; the technique was trial and error. The workers felt like “heroes” for being able to endure; they were proud for having left the country to become “industry men”. The notion of “honorable men” was that of good worker and family provider. Thus, losing the job would mean losing material and symbolic survival: death in life. Without other opportunities, the “heroes” became martyrs due to the deaths and suffering caused by work.

Keywords : Work accident; Worker health; Work in the rock sector; Memory and culture.

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