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Gendered circuits of care in the mobility regime of Alberta’s oil sands

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This article examines the gendered circuits of care found in the fly-in fly-out arrangements of resource extraction zones. In the oil sands of northeast Alberta, Canada, tens of thousands of workers commute long distance between far-flung households and local work camps for rotations of one week or more. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted from the unique vantage point of work camps, we attend to the gendered relations and identities of care that characterize the ‘stretched out’ arrangements of care between camp and home. We especially address two forms of care: those aimed at helping people cope with camp life, and those aimed at caring for households at a distance. By considering both oil workers and camp staff, we highlight the gendering of the camp/commute regime as a particular geography of social reproduction and foreground the gendered identities – including mobile masculinities – that are reproduced and re-negotiated in the process.
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Keywords: Care; fly-in fly-out; mobility; oil sands; social reproduction; work camps

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Publication date: August 3, 2018

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