Rituals of fun and mischief: the case of the Swedish meatpackers

Susanne Strömberg (Department of Working Life Science, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Jan Ch. Karlsson (Department of Working Life Science, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Publication date: 2 October 2009

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to analyse rituals of humour and joking practices among two groups of meatpacking workers, to better understand the organic dynamics of workplace fun.

Design/methodology/approach

This is an ethnographic study of two groups of meatpacking workers within a Swedish food preparation company. Data were collected using multiple methods including observations, field notes, and individual and group interviews.

Findings

This study uncovers ample evidence of joking practices among the workers studied. These are presented on a continuum of pure to applied humour in five types: jokes, physical joking practices, clowning, nicknaming and satire.

Originality/value

This article gives a rich description and analysis of organic workplace humour in a contemporary food production setting and offers a typology of joking practices.

Keywords

Citation

Strömberg, S. and Karlsson, J. (2009), "Rituals of fun and mischief: the case of the Swedish meatpackers", Employee Relations, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 632-647. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450910991776

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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