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

Tag Archives: power


Where mines are, the state is not?


Time to call out the Swedish state? We’re reminded of the role of the state when reading a three-part article series by Jonas Fröberg in one of the largest Swedish daily newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet (the articles are in Swedish). The articles focus on conflicts around mines in the north (Kallak in Jokkmokk municipality is mentioned) between different stakeholders, particularly the Sami people and the mining companies, but predominantly zoom in […]

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 […]

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 […]

Workshop on SLO


Participating at a research workshop on social license to operate in mining, with researchers from Luleå, Umeå, Stockholm and Uleåborg (Finland). Good discussions!

Storyteller #23 – if I was the CEO…


Next storyteller is a man from Kiruna who have worked a long time above ground for the company, LKAB. During our conversation, the new CEO, Jan Moström, is brought up. It’s turbulent because Moström, here he comes and, listen now, this is brilliant, because Moström is known as “The Butcher”, but no one has felt any butchering. I use to say in the sauna after [work], I use to say that […]

Storyteller #22 – young people with money


Part of our research strategy and ideas on where a labor process begins and ends, is that we cannot only talk to people in the core of the process, as in workers, managers and suppliers. Other people and other places might also be relevant. Our next storyteller is an example of this. She is a young woman, who has grown up in Kiruna and now works in town for a […]

Storyteller #21 – mine and society


Our next storyteller is a woman, grown up in the Kiruna area and now working for a supplier to the Kiruna mine. During our conversation we discussed all kinds of topics related to the mine and to work. Below, we’ve selected two quotes from her thoughts on the mine and society: If you would put words on the relation between you and the mine? What does it [the mine] do to […]

Storyteller #12 – “when the company sneezes…


…the whole town gets a cold.” This is an old saying, repeated to us by storyteller #12, working for a contractor to the Company, LKAB. – You use to say that when LKAB sneezes, the whole town gets a cold, so in these more difficult times we’re also influenced. We’ve had to lower our prices and all contractors have been summoned to LKAB to lower their prices. – Yes, we’ve […]

Undermining gender


Johan has read “Mining coal and undermining gender: rhythms of work and family in the American west” by Jessica Smith Rolston (Rutgers University Press, 2014). Here are some of his reflections: At the outset of our project we knew that gender would play an important role, particularly given the history and context of the Kiruna mine (also for the Saskatchewan-case). There’s almost a mythology around the miner, a man of few […]

Storyteller #10 – education and a good salary


Storyteller #10 is a young person working under ground, educated through the LKAB program at the gymnasial level. – How did you get into the mine? – I went to the LKAB gymnasium (a specific program at the local gymnasium in Kiruna) and then you automatically get an internship during Summer, and sometimes I continued (working) during Summers. When I graduated I ended up under ground. [talk about the content […]

Storyteller #8 – contractors


Storyteller #8 is a man, working above ground, a white collar. This story is about the role of contractors. – I’d say that the majority of the jobs (done by contractors) are done by local companies. If you look at international companies, they have a relatively small share, particularly if you compare with geographical areas that are closer to the rest of Europe. It’s pretty far up to Kiruna or Malmberget, […]

Spatial divisions of labour


We think that it is always of great interest to read a so-called classic book. Doreen Massey’s book Spatial Divisions of Labour (social structures and the geography of production) is definitely a social science classic and a relevant one for our project (Palgrave, second edition, 1984/1995). In Tommy’s words: Massey is for me a rather demanding author; not that the language is tricky, nor the analysis exceptionally complicated. The demanding part […]

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 […]

Meeting Sami people


What is so obvious in the labor process in the uranium mine in Saskatchewan – the integration of indigenous people – is less so in the Kiruna case. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the Sami people in and around Kiruna aren’t drawn into and affected by the labour process in the Kiruna mine. We think of the picture heading this post, the LKAB moose and the reindeer, and the […]