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Accepted Paper:

Between medicine and religion: numerical e/valuation of workplace injuries in Iran  
Ahmad Moradi (Freie Universität Berlin)

Short abstract:

This paper addresses the numerical e/valuation of workplace injury in Iran. Approaching injury as a 'project of translation,' It seeks to understand how workers' struggles for compensation are modulated within medical as well as religious quantitative logics of commensuration.

Long abstract:

Relying on eight months of ethnographic work in 2022, this paper addresses the numerical e/valuation of workplace injuries in Iran, highlighting how compensation for injured bodies is premised on medical and religious calculative logics. Like many individuals with disabilities worldwide, injured workers in Iran spend significant time in medical committees where their compensation and pensions are determined. These committees use biomedical ‘standardised’ impairment scale, assigning percentages to bodily functions and impairments, which dictate financial entitlements. After the 1979 Revolution and the following Islamisation process, the impairment scale chart was adapted to become compatible with the Islamic model of compensation (diyeh). In practice, this has led to the intertwining of medical assessments with religious principles. This process involves physicians, insurance inspectors, jurisprudent experts, and judges, who must meld medical rationality with Islamic law, translating injury into numbers.

Drawing on the recent work of Stefan Ecks (2022) on the ‘embodied theory of value,’ I follow the journey of workers from injury to disability in the context of Iran's high worker injury rates. In doing so, I focus on what Ecks calls ‘bio-commensuration’: social practices that allow the value of a living body to be measured, exchanged, and drawn into transactions, either with other humans or with nonhuman entities. By integrating Disability Studies with the Anthropology of Work and Religion, the research sheds light on the numerical e/valuation of human bodies, underscoring the interplay and challenges at the nexus of techno-scientific and religious values in the healthcare system of a theocratic state.

Traditional Open Panel P353
Corporeal quantification: numerical negotiations of health and the body
  Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -