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Can new technology challenge macho-masculinities? The case of the mining industry


  • Lena Abrahamsson

    (Luleå University of Technology)

  • Jan Johansson

    (Luleå University of Technology)


The aim with this article is to discuss how changes in technology at workplaces engender both change and restoration of gender constructions within the context of underground mining. The discussions are formed around a constructed case based on material from gender and organizational studies of large-scale industrial mines in different countries, most of them from Sweden. New technologies such as digitalization and automation together with new organizational forms engender changes in mining work, e.g., new types of work tasks, new competence demands, and a move from underground to high-tech control rooms aboveground. One main observation is that the changes challenge the old and recalcitrant blue-collar mining masculinity. On the one hand, the organizational resistance and “lagging” seemed to result in re-gendering and restoration of the male dominance. On the other hand, there were tendencies to adaptation in the workplace cultures, including new ways of forming mining masculinities, perhaps even undoing of gender. The main conclusion is that the most probable development lies somewhere in-between and by analyzing such complex processes of gender, technology, and change future research can get more knowledge of changes of gender constructions in working life.

Suggested Citation

  • Lena Abrahamsson & Jan Johansson, 2021. "Can new technology challenge macho-masculinities? The case of the mining industry," Mineral Economics, Springer;Raw Materials Group (RMG);Luleå University of Technology, vol. 34(2), pages 263-275, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minecn:v:34:y:2021:i:2:d:10.1007_s13563-020-00221-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s13563-020-00221-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maria Johansson & Lisa Ringblom, 2017. "The Business Case of Gender Equality in Swedish Forestry and Mining - Restricting or Enabling Organizational Change," Gender, Work and Organization, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(6), pages 628-642, November.
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