Women in Mining: Occupational Culture and Gendered Identities in the Making


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Sociology


Popular culture and academic work on mining is overwhelmingly informed and shaped by a male bias. Mine culture has been understood as enabling particular formations of male solidarity and masculine subjectivities. The masculinism in mine culture has also dominated mining literature as if ‘pit people’ have always been and continue to only be men. In South Africa, since 2004, women have joined the underground mining workforce. Their entrance and their allocation into occupations that were exclusively reserved for men is a significant challenge and a disruption to masculine subjectivities and the mining occupational culture. This book, which inserts the experiences of women in mining literature, will contribute to our understandings of how women mineworkers make sense of themselves and how gender identities are constructed in mining. To collect this data I used ethnography (participant observation) where I worked in the Platinum mines and lived with mineworkers for eleven months.