From mine to outer space: The case of Kiruna, a town in northern Sweden

Ingrid Liljenäs

Many places in Sweden are dominated by a single industry. In these settlements, one finds a distinct company culture with strong normative controls and extensive company influence. This type of culture has not been particularly favourable for the growth of small enterprises alongside the established company undertaking. Those firms that have grown in the shadow of the major company have either supplied the mining company with machinery, or processed the semi-manufactured products from the steelworks. While the dominant companies have facilitated the growth of new small enterprises in allied industries, they have simultaneously actively opposed the establishment of other types of business that might compete for the labour force. Single enterprise municipalities in Sweden have many characteristics in common. They are almost always small communities in terms of population. Although not as geographically isolated as single enterprise communities in Canada or Australia, they are often in locations that are isolated in relation to larger and more differentiated labour markets. Essentially, these communities have been established to serve the needs of the industry. For this reason, they are very susceptible to industrial fluctuations. Too frequently, the local labour markets have few highly qualified jobs, and lack what is traditionally regarded as employment for women.

From mine to outer space: The case of Kiruna, a town in northern Sweden. In C. Neil, M. Tykkyläinen & J. Bradbury (Eds.), Coping with closure: An international comparison of mine town experiences (pp. 247-265). London; New York: Routledge.

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Book chapter
From mine to outer space: The case of Kiruna, a town in northern Sweden