After Industrial Citizenship: Adapting to Precarious Employment in the Lanarkshire Coalfield, Scotland and Sudbury Hardrock Mining, Canada

Ewan Gibbs, Shelley Condratto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Over the last three decades workers in developed economies have experienced the transition to a system of market citizenship characterized by individualised, short-term, employment relations and an adaption to instrumental attitude towards paid work. This paper explores how mineworkers have transitioned in sectors where socially embedded industrial citizenship has been replaced by transactional forms of market citizenship: the coal mining industry of Lanarkshire, Scotland and the nickel mining sector of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Both cases illustrate the profound societal impact of industrial restructuring and divestment. The analysis contends that through the decline of identity and workforce and community organisation workers have lost the resources that industrial citizenship was constructed upon, but retained elements of individual attitude and collective culture.

The analysis is based upon 60 qualitative interviews with miners and former miners which focused upon transitions in understandings of employment and industrial relations experiences. In Sudbury this includes a newfound legitimation of strikebreaking by contract workers. Within Lanarkshire, temporary but well paid work in opencast mining divides communities between workers seeking immediate economic rewards and others with environmental concerns. Despite the demise of industrial citizenship, in both places workers’ adaption to market citizenship remains filtered through its outlook and values
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-239
Number of pages28
JournalLabour/Le Travail
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2018



  • Deindustrialization
  • work
  • Labour history
  • Labour studies
  • employment
  • industry
  • Trade Unions
  • identities
  • place-based policy
  • labour market
  • Environment

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