Neutral accent : how language, labor, and life become global


Neutral accent : how language, labor, and life become global

A. Aneesh

Duke University Press, 2015

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. [137]-149) and index



In Neutral Accent, A. Aneesh employs India's call centers as useful sites for studying global change. The horizon of global economic shift, the consequences of global integration, and the ways in which call center work "neutralizes" racial, ethnic, and national identities become visible from the confines of their cubicles. In his interviews with call service workers and in his own work in a call center in the high tech metropolis of Gurgoan, India, Aneesh observed the difficulties these workers face in bridging cultures, laws, and economies: having to speak in an accent that does not betray their ethnicity, location, or social background; learning foreign social norms; and working graveyard shifts to accommodate international customers. Call center work is cast as independent of place, space, and time, and its neutrality-which Aneesh defines as indifference to difference-has become normal business practice in a global economy. The work of call center employees in the globally integrated marketplace comes at a cost, however, as they become disconnected from the local interactions and personal relationships that make their lives anything but neutral.


Acknowledgments ix Prologue: One World, Diverse Itineraries 1 1. Glimpsing an Urban Future: Divergent Tracks of Gurgaon 13 2. Inside a Call Center: Otherworldly Passages 35 3. Neutral Accent 53 4. System Identities: Divergent Itineraries and Uses of Personality 77 5. Nightly Clashes: Diurnal Body, Nocturnal Labor, Neutral Markets 101 Epilogue: The Logic of Indifference 127 References 137 Index 151

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