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Mining's relocation culture:The experiences of family members in the context of frequent relocation

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Good social relationships and connections to place are key aspects of worklife balance that are rarely considered by employers because of a focus on the work part of the dichotomy. In response to this omission, this paper aims to investigate women's experiences of frequent relocations due to their partner's employment in the mining industry. Interviews were conducted with 20 women, who had partners employed in the mining industry. Thematic analysis focussed on participants' individual stories of relocation to identify common and divergent experiences. Themes identified included the role of industry practices and expectations in supporting relocation; personal strengths and strategies developed over time; individual and family needs during relocation; the impact of life stage on decisions about relocation and the important aspects of place. Mining has a relocation culture common to those involved in the industry. While this culture presents challenges, most of the participants in this study also found benefits in moving often and had developed strategies to cope with relocation upheaval. Participants expanded their social relationships, adding to community resources of the places they lived in by participating in social and cultural events. Relocation disrupts workforce stability and cohesion desired by industry. Understanding relocation culture is one way family members survive in the industry. It is critical for the mining industry to acknowledge the life part of worklife balance. The paper conceptualises relocation as a significant part of the mining industry's culture creating mining families as itinerant. This is the first paper that examines family experiences and social relationships, external to the industry they are connected to. The finding that family members of mining industry employees are very likely to live in remote locations at some point is new. The way these individuals can be used as resource in deprived locations requires further exploration. © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • Allan, J. (2011). Mining's relocation culture:The experiences of family members in the context of frequent relocation. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 31(5-6), 272-286. doi:10.1108/01443331111141264

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84864641460

Start Page


  • 272

End Page


  • 286

Volume


  • 31

Issue


  • 5-6

Abstract


  • Good social relationships and connections to place are key aspects of worklife balance that are rarely considered by employers because of a focus on the work part of the dichotomy. In response to this omission, this paper aims to investigate women's experiences of frequent relocations due to their partner's employment in the mining industry. Interviews were conducted with 20 women, who had partners employed in the mining industry. Thematic analysis focussed on participants' individual stories of relocation to identify common and divergent experiences. Themes identified included the role of industry practices and expectations in supporting relocation; personal strengths and strategies developed over time; individual and family needs during relocation; the impact of life stage on decisions about relocation and the important aspects of place. Mining has a relocation culture common to those involved in the industry. While this culture presents challenges, most of the participants in this study also found benefits in moving often and had developed strategies to cope with relocation upheaval. Participants expanded their social relationships, adding to community resources of the places they lived in by participating in social and cultural events. Relocation disrupts workforce stability and cohesion desired by industry. Understanding relocation culture is one way family members survive in the industry. It is critical for the mining industry to acknowledge the life part of worklife balance. The paper conceptualises relocation as a significant part of the mining industry's culture creating mining families as itinerant. This is the first paper that examines family experiences and social relationships, external to the industry they are connected to. The finding that family members of mining industry employees are very likely to live in remote locations at some point is new. The way these individuals can be used as resource in deprived locations requires further exploration. © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • Allan, J. (2011). Mining's relocation culture:The experiences of family members in the context of frequent relocation. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 31(5-6), 272-286. doi:10.1108/01443331111141264

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84864641460

Start Page


  • 272

End Page


  • 286

Volume


  • 31

Issue


  • 5-6