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

Category Archives: Worker

Storyteller #9 – first line managers


Storyteller #9, a man, started working for the company before the famous worker collective strike in 1969/70. Working in a variety of positions, he reflects on the current, tough requirements on the first line managers in the company. – …the first line managers have, first of all, upper management who pressures them from above. Then they have coworkers who pressure them as well. They are placed between two fires. […] […]

Storyteller #6 – visibility and organizational change


Storyteller #6 is a man who have worked above ground for 20 years, previously as a worker, now as a manager. His story is one about visibility and organizational change. – When you change from under ground to above ground … (is that a change from ‘we’ to ‘them’?) – That there are different practices of work, or? – ‘We get the stone up, but you…’ – [—] Everybody works together […]

Storyteller #5 – management


This story about management is told by a man who have been working in the mine for a quarter of a century, both under and above ground, previously as a worker, now as a manager. – I have my own theory: that it’s more trustworthy, for those (workers) who have to change, when a (a leader with experience of working in a mine) comes. ‘He’s one of us, so he […]

Storyteller #4 – work and culture


Our storyteller #4 is a man, born and raised in Kiruna, a long-time miner, but who has now left LKAB. Below is a short but rather layered story on work and culture: – There is a kind of escape tendency at LK(AB), people are curious about trying something new since LK is rather controlled. It’s a big company, there are a lot of meetings, there are unbelievably many protocols, and it shall… […]

Storyteller #3 – the dream factory


Our third storyteller is a man, born and raised in Kiruna. He has been working under ground since the 1980s. The story is about leaving, arriving and staying at the dream factory, a k a the mine and LKAB. It comes out of a discussion about a mutual friend of ours leaving LKAB. – Yes, sure, there are those who have come and gone, and that have left in other […]

Storyteller #1 – technology development


Our first storyteller is a man from Kiruna and who used to work underground with drilling in the late 1970s. Here’s a story from working the morning shift back then: – When you came up, above ground, during Winter, it was dark. That’s how you lived. But, technology and work environment, technology development, that was the topic we talked about during our breaks. Our fantasies about the future were that […]

Moods in the field


The morale of this story is that any kind of social science research implies going in and out of moods. Being in a mood, and throughout life, in different contexts, going in and out of moods, is a precondition for human lives. And of course, this is a lived experience that is totally left out in social science textbooks, conferences and PhD education. Different moods imply different conversations, different writing, […]

Different stories about the collective


Early on in the project we talked to workers and managers that had worked at the Kiruna mine for a long time. Among the topics discussed was whether or not there is a worker collective today; in a deeper sense than in terms of union membership. A collective who can collectively agree that they have had enough and from that act in unison. At the time the story we heard […]

Precarious times


Working life in the mine is not turbulent at the moment, not at all, but due to the current re-organization it’s very precarious, uncertain, insecure, unreliable, unsure, unpredictable… This is not only the case for blue collar workers and white collar workers in service positions who are unsure of where employments will be cut (cause there’ll be cut downs), but also for managers, particularly middle managers. At LKAB in Kiruna, […]

Logbook updated


Waiting at the hotel room in Kiruna before going home, we reflect on our conversations with both old and new acquaintenances. It’s been a very good trip. More blogposts await! We’ve updated the logbook on the Swedish case (click here).

Working hard or hardly working?


On March 18, local newspapers report that two workers at LKAB:s iron ore mine in Malmberget (125 km from Kiruna) have been caught furnishing a secret sleeping room at work. On March 26, they are fired. Two other workers chose to resign. On March 20, we arrive in Kiruna, and the first person we meet is the man delivering the rental car. He is born and raised in Kiruna, and […]

Goffman and the Wolfpack


“How long would it take for me to know what’s really going on here?”, I asked. “About three to four months”, the worker answered. I looked at my watch. Twenty hours to go before my flight back to Saskatoon. It takes time to get to know the social codes of a wolfpack. Arriving, staying at and leaving the McArthur River mine site, I kept thinking of the sociological opportunity to study […]

Racial structures in the labour process


Visiting Kiruna means several hotel nights. Hanging out at the hotel, it becomes quite obvious that Kiruna, although very unique, is a familiar site in that: immigrant labour is very visible in the service part of society. Hence, at the hotel, the cleaners we meet and greet are immigrants, the breakfast staff is more mixed. So what? Besides an observation, most likely relevant to many other service institutions in our society, what does […]

Resistance: A tit for a butt


A small story – but so strong! A girl meets boys, in a boyzone, and their pin-up calendars in the coffee room under ground. What to do, except for complaining to the boys and the organization? Well, after some attempts, this girl decided to have her own calendars at display down the mine. Male, naked, hunks (we assume, haven’t seem them). A sort of resistance. If this is a good […]