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Call Center Workers in Neoliberal India: The Production of Homo Economicus

  • Author(s): Cherian, Abraham
  • Advisor(s): Gupta, Akhil
  • et al.
Abstract

This thesis endeavors to delineate methods of examining Indian call centers and its workers from an anthropological perspective. It will explore the external economic and social forces including neoliberalism, flexible accumulation, and moral density that create conditions in which call centers in India can assist American customers, while at the same time remaining attentive to the external social forces that give rise to the individual. Moreover, this thesis will investigate the social forces that the neoliberal subject, homo economicus, internalizes by exploring neoliberal governmentality and the theory of practice. Beyond analyzing theoretical literature, this thesis focuses upon documentary films on Indian call center workers as valuable sources for exploring the actions and bodily practices of Indian call center workers. Ultimately, this thesis charts the ways in which the academic literature on neoliberal governmentality, time-space compression, pastiche, American cultural imperialism, forms of capital, symbolic violence, and linguistic anthropology related to situated interaction can be affectively employed to interrogate how Indian call center workers conduct themselves on the local level.

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