Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Applied Communication Research 32:4 (November 2004), pp. 273–292; doi: 10.1080/0090988042000240167 Copyright © 2004 National Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This study examined underground iron ore miners’ occupational narratives to uncover how their stories socialize miners into blue-collar careers and reinforce their work identities. Through the root theme of sisu (Finnish for inner determination), underground miners create a status hierarchy that is used to construct a sense of pride around their work and to establish milestones of success for themselves and others in their workgroup. Furthermore, they communicatively construct exemplars that guide their performance and decisions during the unfolding of their work experiences. Their discourses provide alternatives to white-collar conceptualizations and practices of careers and success.