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Dynamics of Virtual Work

Language Put to Work

The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce

Authors: Brophy, Enda

  • Includes fieldworks and interviews from four countries
  • Provides a rich international perspective
  • Presents a starting point for envisioning alternative forms of call centre work
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Buy this book

eBook £79.50
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95244-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £99.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95243-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book examines the striking rise of call centres over the past quarter century through the lens of the resistance and collective organizing generated by workers along the digital assembly lines. Drawing on field research in Atlantic Canada, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand, Enda Brophy investigates the contested making of the transnational call centre workforce and its integration into the circuits of global capitalism. Moving beyond depictions of call centre labour as either entirely liberated or utterly subordinated, Language Put to Work inquires into the forms of work refusal and insubordination provoked by the spread of these communicative workplaces, including informal strategies of quitting, slacking and sabotage, conventional trade union activity, tactical innovations at the margins of the labour movement, and forms of self-organization forged by workers outside of the established trade union movement. Weaving rich empirical evidence together with political-economic

analysis and theories of resistance, this book argues that the submission of language to the production of value in the call centre is a process of proletarianization rather than professionalization, and that the new working class has widely opposed this transformation.

About the authors

Enda Brophy is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Reviews

“Language put to work, human communication subjected to the accumulation of capital: this is quite possibly the most important and dramatic transformation of our time. Whoever wants to understand the major transformations in the field of production and daily life must read Brophy’s outstanding book.” (Franco Berardi, independent scholar, Italy)

“As we waited with baited breath for the arrival of the knowledge worker, we did not expect human communication to be turned into factory work. In this audacious book on call centre work, Brophy not only uncovers the subjugation of language to communicative capitalism, he also reveals the creative possibilities of labor resistance and alternate trajectories.” (A. Aneesh, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, USA)

“This is a comprehensive, theoretically informed, lucidly written, beautifully researched and ultimately inspiring study of one the front lines of class struggle in digital capitalism—the call centre. Brophy gives us the living voices of workers on the tele-assembly lines speaking out against their managerial reduction to profitable, abstract communication; we should listen.” (Nick Dyer-Witheford, University of Western Ontario, Canada)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • The Subterranean Stream

    Brophy, Enda

    Pages 1-27

  • Communicative Capitalism and Call Centre Labour

    Brophy, Enda

    Pages 29-57

  • Labour’s Resistance in the Call Centre

    Brophy, Enda

    Pages 59-84

  • The Making of the Call Centre Cybertariat

    Brophy, Enda

    Pages 85-129

  • The Migration of Struggle

    Brophy, Enda

    Pages 131-167

Buy this book

eBook £79.50
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95244-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £99.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-349-95243-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Language Put to Work
Book Subtitle
The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce
Authors
Series Title
Dynamics of Virtual Work
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-349-95244-1
DOI
10.1057/978-1-349-95244-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-349-95243-4
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 306
Topics