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International Sociological Association

Contemporary issues in long-distance commute work in the extractive industries and other sectors
University of Vienna, Austria
July 8-10, 2013
Abstracts: January 7, 2013

Long-distance commute (LDC) work and fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) operations are types of mobile work arrangements where workers are resident at one location, but for varying periods of time live and work at another, commuting between the two on a periodic basis. Typically the workplace is at some distance from the normal place of residence, isolated from other communities such that accommodations and other services have to be supplied by the resource or project developer. This type of work arrangement has become increasingly relevant for the extractive industries as well as in construction, technology, administration and service sectors worldwide. This is especially the case in remote regions such as the Sub-Arctic as well as in regions where a qualified labour force is not available.

Though these work arrangements date back to the early days of offshore oil exploration and to the 1970s in the mining sector, however studies on many aspects of LDC in different contexts are still often at an exploratory stage. Contemporary research primarily refers to community and regional development implications of LDC and to a lesser extent research on impacts on LDC workers and their families. The LDC workers, their mobile life-style and the conditions of long-distance commuting in the variety of industries and sectors where it is used has so far still only received limited attention. LDC is not a homogenous organisation of mobile labour, and as such involves a wide variety of forms and settings.

This symposium strives to shed light on contemporary scientific discussions, theory and methodology in the study of LDC labour matters, as well as to applied studies and entrepreneurial practice related to mobile labour organization. In particular, contributions will examine the complexity of modes and impacts of LDC and the responses of the workers themselves to this method of organising a labour force. The organisers welcome contributions from those in private sector, government, academic and other groups with interests in any of the sectors that utilize this form of work organization or with interests in this type of work organization from a variety of perspectives from theory to practice, policy making to regulation, assessment to management, etc. Conference languages will be English and Russian (translations provided).

Abstract submissions
Maximum 450 words, due by 7th January 2013, emailed to Include with the abstract the presentation title, author name(s) and affiliation(s) and contact information, including email addresses.

For further information contact the symposium secretariat:
Elena Nuikina

The symposium is organized by the research project Lives on the Move which is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): [P 22066-G17]; Lives on the Move project partner: Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna & Institute of Urban and Regional Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW); Project leader: Prof. Dr. Heinz Fassmann;
International Sociological Association