tommy.jensen@sbs.su.se johan.sandstrom@ltu.se

Storyteller #37 – view of the mine growing up


This storyteller, born and raised in Kiruna, working as “Summerbird”, reflects on the image of the mine when growing up (the image heading the post is by artist Magnus Fredriksson). It has been a very romanticized picture of the mine. The pride of working there. It was quite … It was awesome when you were a child, I remember going outside the gate, waiting for Dad to finish [work], and […]

Storyteller #36 – ears, eyes, chest


Next storyteller works underground and in a conversation (from 2015) with us asks about our ‘bodily’ experiences from being underground. I can imagine for you guys, when you got back up, did you felt swollen? Did you feel something like that? Like heavy, as if your head is full of cotton and… We were down for three hours and we were in the works for four hours yesterday. It’s our […]

A major revision


More academic publishing: first nothing, then two ‘Decision from the editor’ in a matter of days. This time concerning our paper on the Kiruna case. This time we knew we weren’t desk rejected, but sent out for a triple-blind review. The letter says: “The reviewers and assigned Associate Editor have recommended major revisions before publication could be considered.” In other words: the foot is in the door! Two reviews are […]

A desk reject


Again, this is a post more towards fellow academics, but with some relevance for the ‘universe’ outside academia as well. We just got a decision from the scientific journal Work, Employment & Society that our qualitative paper on the Canadian case was not sent out for review, a so-called desk reject. This is not the first time it has happened to us(!), but it always brings out the bad-loosers in […]

Not all about mining…


Did you know, it’s not all about mining? It’s also about mushrooms, gardening and art. * Since the 1980s, in an abandoned part of the mine on level 540, the mushroom shiitake is cultivated. The temperature is very even, no insects, basically a sterlie environment, which make the conditions perfect for the mushrooms. * There used to be a garden inside the gates where “they grew tomatoes, grapes, melons and […]

The tones and tonnes of Malmfälten


“You are meters, you are tonnes”, sings Johan Airijoki, singer-songwriter from Gällivare, Malmfälten (in Swedish). Among the key performance indicators that miners speaks to us about, we find that those two are rather salient: how many meters advanced as new tunnels are made (drifting) and how many tonnes of ore are loaded on your shift. In short: “You are meters, you are tonnes”. Kiruna is part of the region called […]

Another article…


This might be a post more towards fellow academics and more in tune with what we, as academics, are supposed to do today – publish articles! As for more ‘scientific deliveries’ we’ve promised two articles and a book from the project. One article (the one about Kiruna) is already out for review and today we managed to submit the second article, the one about the Canadian case. Let’s hope the […]

Storyteller #35 – the union and the Summerbirds


Every Summer, LKAB hires several hundreds of so-called “Summerbirds”; people – often young persons who have a break from their studies – that come in to work for a couple of months when ordinary staff are on vacation. As the trend of temporary workers is on the rise in general (although LKAB today work towards decreasing the use of ‘foreign services’), it is interesting to also turn the attention to […]

Storyteller #34 – Kiruna/Sweden/Others?


Another recurrent theme is where the profits from the mining ends up. A common position that we meet is that too little of the surplus is re-invested in the local community and that the owner in the capital Stockholm, the State, grabs too much (and put it to use in the Stockholm area). A manager reflects upon this in a conversation with us: These urban transformations [of Kiruna and Malmberget] […]

Storyteller #33 – work vs community?


Next storyteller is one of the ombudsmen inside the gates, reflecting on the recurrent theme of people doing work in the Kiruna mine but living (and paying taxes) elsewhere: It would be better if they move up, then there might have been more lively here [as in more pulse in the local community]. And there would also be more tax money in this town. This depletes… But if you get […]

New music video!


When we first arrived in Kiruna, early 2015, the downturn of the market was making its impact, inside and outside the gates. The mood in general seemed rather low. This song, “Stänger alla kranar” (in Swedish, roughly translated into “Closing all taps”), came out of how different people talked about the on-going and planned cost reductions in the company, but ended in a bricolage of more than just this. So, […]

Storyteller #32 – next level in the mine?


Just recently, top management has expressed itself in positive terms regarding plans for a new level in the Kiruna mine. The latest one, at 1365 meters below ground, has just recently been completed (although in use for some years already). Expected to last for about 15-20 years, it looks as if the Kirunavaara mine will continue to go deeper, although much is still uncertain. We recalled a discussion with a […]

Storyteller #31 – the role of the union


Next storyteller is one of the local ombudsmen for one of the unions. Our conversation is about how he keeps in contact with the members and what they are interested in. Below, he talks about how members tend to enrol the union in a rather short-sighted way: The members are active when there is a wage movement. Or when jobs are threatened. Then they come. […] Very seldom do they […]

The process of writing a paper…


We’re writing a paper on the Kiruna case. We’ve been going at it for quite some time and although we’re nudging it forward, we never seem to remember that each paper is a quagmire. And, as soon as we’re writing, we don’t blog. Why? Because you wouldn’t be interested in the writing process perhaps. Or perhaps we don’t know how to write about our own writing process… One try: we start […]