Accepted Paper:

21st century green-collar workers  

Authors:

Roger Andre Søraa (Norwegian Uni. of Science and Technology)
Håkon Fyhn (Norwegian Uni. of Science and Technology)
Jøran Solli (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Paper short abstract:

What does it mean to be a human worker in the 21st century? This paper investigates how professional carpenters re-invent their work-life to both technological-, and climate change mitigation challenges and possibilities.

Paper long abstract:

What does it mean to be a human worker in the 21st century? This paper investigates how the old craft profession of carpentry re-invent itself in order to adapt to new technological transformations, and climate change mitigation challenges for their professional work-life. These professionals are balancing their new roles as "green-collar workers", between technological systems and traditional craft.

Many 21st century humans have a strong synchronicity with robots, machines and automation (Haraway, 1987). The authors asks how this is affecting the human workers, who not only must master new machines at work, but who also face being outsourced by the same "creatures". The transition to a more sustainable future as a research field has gained significant focus recently (Shove and Walker, 2007, Loorbach, 2007). However, there is a strong need for empirical research on how this affect the workers who implement the policies in action (Aune and Bye, 2005). Empirically, the study is founded in qualitative interviews with the craftspeople, working as energy-advisors, and in a rapidly automated sector.

The authors question how the new expertise of 21st century workers are balancing between automation and sustainable transition demands, and the traditional skills and lifestyle of their profession. Our findings suggest the rise of a new type of "green-collar worker", and discusses how this can be something more than just a profession, but also an identity and a lifestyle.

Panel T110
What does it mean to be Human in the 21st Century?