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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

On-line version ISSN 1678-4561Print version ISSN 1413-8123


VASCONCELLOS, Luiz Carlos Fadel de  and  PIGNATI, Wanderlei Antonio. Labor Medicine: sub-science or subserviency? An epistemological approach. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2006, vol.11, n.4, pp.1105-1115. ISSN 1678-4561.

This article discusses a disquieting issue in the field of workers' health, the mission of the labor physician in the context of a change in the model of public politics with regard to the relation health and work that began with the establishment of the new Unified Health System in Brazil. The paper focuses on epistemological questions like Medicine being or not a science and analyzes the mission of Labor Medicine on the basis of a short historical analysis of its development and its appropriation by the production systems and institutional trajectory since the appearance of the first factory physician. The study comes to the conclusion that Labor Medicine is not on a level with the ethical and scientific principles traditionally expected from Medicine and its special fields, understanding this branch of medicine as a practice subordinated to other hegemonic and not scientific variables. Finally, this article remits to the debate about the contradictions involving the construction of the field of workers' health in Brazil.

Keywords : Labor Medicine; Workers' health; Medical science.

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