Catering for the Oil: Catering and the Reproduction of the North Sea Communities
AbstractThe oil platform is a social innovation, a new type of community. Formally, people work together on the oil installation, yet in reality they also live together, and cater for each other or not in a multitude of ways. Living away from their homes for long periods, usually two weeks, the offshore workers require someone to take care of their needs. This is done by the 1200 catering workers. A rising proportion (42 percent in 1985) of the caterers are women, working in an otherwise almost totally male environment. The present article concerns the often overlooked catering group and its role not only for the daily welfare of the offshore workers, but also in the reproduction of the North Sea installations as social communities. The institutionalization of new work and life patterns is the background theme of the article and the focus is on the professional caterers and their unique role in the work organization.