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‘The essence of the adventure’: Narratives of Arctic work and engineering in th early 20th century
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6461-7734
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201).
2010 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Why do people decide to leave everything behind to find work in harsh Arctic environments? This is an important question, if we want to explain the development of industry in the Polar Regions. In this presentation we will try to answer it, by analyzing the stories of employees in the Spitsbergen mining industry in the early 20th century.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries experienced the culmination of an exceptional hero cult surrounding polar scientists and explorers. Far less celebrated, but probably no less important, were the numerous mining workers and engineers present and active in industrial enterprises in the High Arctic at about the same period. While the motives and driving forces of polar scientists and explorers have been relatively carefully examined, very little attention has been paid to these, less glamorous, people and their choice to earn a living in an Arctic industrial community.

By examining a unique material of written accounts, diaries, newspaper articles and images from the Swedish coal mining establishment of Sveagruvan (the Svea Mine) on Spitsbergen, in production during the first two decades of the 20th century, we will analyze the narratives of workers, foremen and managers, men and women, expressing their views of the time they spent on Spitsbergen. The material will be discussed from four identity creating perspectives:  gender, nationality, class and profession. How did individuals in different positions narrate their life and work at the Svea Mine? What was the source of inspiration for those narratives? To what extent were they inspired by the established heroic picture of the Arctic scientists and explorers? What does this tell us about the motives for working in the High Arctic?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-67469OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-67469DiVA: diva2:484996
Conference
The International Polar Year Oslo Science Conference (OSC)
Note

QC 20120207

Available from: 2012-01-27 Created: 2012-01-27 Last updated: 2016-02-25Bibliographically approved

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Avango, Dag

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf