Maintaining the simulation model in the era of the ‘social’: The ‘inquiry’ system of Canadian workers' compensation, 1914–1984


  • *This is a substantially revised version of a paper originally presented to the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association's annual meeting, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., June 1990.1 would like to thank Janet Burns, Ray Morrow and John Jackson as well as the three anonymous crsa reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts. Research for this paper was made possible in part by an Isaac Walton Killam Memorial scholarship.


L'oeuvre des auteurs comme Foucault et Baudrillard a mis au défi les théories conventionnelles en sociologie quant au pouvoir de l'état et de l'économie politique. Malheureusement, la recherche au Canada ne s'est peu orientée vers ces études théoriques. Cette communication cherche à démontrer l'utilité des notions de “surveiller” de Foucault et de la “codification” de Baudrillard pour mieux comprendre les composants et les pratiques quotidiennes des commissions des accidents du travail au Canada.

The work of theorists such as Foucault and Baudrillard has posed a significant challenge to more conventional sociological frameworks for dealing with issues of state power and political economy. Yet empirical work on the state-political economy relationship in Canada has, so far, made little use of these theoretical insights. In contrast, the specific aim of this paper is to display the usefulness of Foucault's concern with surveillance and Baudrillard's concern with codification so as to better understand the constitutive features and the mundane practices of Canadian workers' compensation boards.