Vol. 38 No. 4 (1990)
Research Article

The Nicknames of Steam-Era Railroaders: A Code-Mediated Adaptation

Published 1990-12-01



Nicknames, especially those related to performance and competence, constituted one colorful aspect of life among steam-era railroaders in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The frequency of such performance/competence nicknames correlates positively with those tasks which involve risk and in which the consequences of inappropriate behavior are greatest. Against a backdrop of common assumptions in a railroad town, such nicknames act as “restricted codes,” conveying information which facilitates railroaders' accomodation to particular stresses in their industrial, hence “code-mediated” adaptation.


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