Article Bradon LKAB Union

Neoliberal trajectories in mining

In a sister-project to Organizing rocks, funded by Handelsbanken’s research council, we take a historical approach to mining. One part of the project includes a comparison between the iron ore regions in Malmfälten (with the mines in Kiruna, Malmberget and Svappavaara) and in the Pilbara, western Australia. The Pilbara comparison is based on a collaboration with Professor Bradon Ellem at the University of Sydney. Recently a comparative paper from the project was published in the European Journal of Industrial Relations with the title “Neoliberal trajectories in mining: Comparing Malmfälten and the Pilbara”. It gives our Organizing rocks project more of a context and historical grounding. Although we’re completely biased here, it is a nice read! Click here to access the paper on the journal’s homepage (and if you don’t have open access, e-mail Johan at Here’s the abstract:

We compare the iron ore sectors and mining regions of Malmfälten in Sweden and the Pilbara in Australia. Both are physically isolated and the product is economically vital, but we find differences in industrial relations which accord with what would be expected in coordinated and liberal market economies. A closer examination, attentive to history and geography and in which changes in institutional form and function are highlighted, reveals, however, that these differences are more apparent than real, and that there is a common neoliberal trajectory. This analysis also suggests that changes in these sites at times drive transformations in national industrial relations.

Book Bradon Iron Kiruna Researcher

The Pilbara: from the deserts profits come

Academic life is especially good when leading to new and inspiring collaborations. Early June, we got a visit to Luleå by professor Bradon Ellem from Sydney University. Bradon has vast experiences from the mining industry in the Pilbara (North Western Australia). He also happened to be a great thinker and theoriser of space-time aspects relevant to mining, aspects we’re bending our minds around at the moment.

Together with Bradon we’ve started writing a paper, aimed at organization studies and its dealings with space-time aspects, with our ethnography of the Kiruna mine as empirical material (Bradon has been to Kiruna a couple of times). Looking very much forward to this! We’d also like to flag Bradon’s new book, analysing the history of industrial relations in the iron ore industry, The Pilbara: From the Deserts Profits Come. It’ll be published in July 2017 by UWA Publishing.