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Under the clean surface


  • Helena Lundberg
  • Jan Ch. Karlsson



This is a reflexive ethnographic study of cleaners at a Finnish hotel. There were grounds in the cleaners’ working conditions for resistance and organisational misbehaviour to arise, but almost no collective actions or protests were performed. The needed common identity and problem definition was lacking because of two important impediments: each hotel cleaner had to perform her work alone and there were few other opportunities to meet and discuss conditions; and they were divided into ethnic cliques with close to no communication between them. Instead resistance took individual forms, such as fiddling with cleaning standards and thefts.

Suggested Citation

  • Helena Lundberg & Jan Ch. Karlsson, 2011. "Under the clean surface," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 25(1), pages 141-148, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:woemps:v:25:y:2011:i:1:p:141-148

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