Women, Identity and India's Call Centre Industry
Routledge – 2009 – 16 pages
This book examines the concept of globalised identities and the way in which agency is exercised over identity construction by women working in India’s transnational call centre industry.
Drawing on qualitative empirical data and extensive original fieldwork, the book provides a nuanced analysis of the experiences of Indian women call centre workers and the role of women’s participation in the global labour market. The author uses social, cultural, and historical factors to create a framework for examining the processes of identity construction. Within this framework, the book explores the impact of the call centre labour process on the social landscape of urban centres in India and the way in which this has impacted upon transformations and shifts in society with relation to gendered, sexual, and generational relationships. Highlighting the significance of identity in a globalised world, the author argues that identity acts as one of the most powerful constructs in transforming global ‘scapes’ and flows of culture and economics.
This book will be of interest to academics working on South Asia, gender and labour studies and issues of globalization, identity and social change.
'This is a modern book for modern times. Basi defies conventional wisdom- that call centre employment is either India’s post colonial revenge or globalisation’s way of destroying national identity - and in true feminist tradition, privileges the experiences of the women themselves. She explores the lives, experiences and aspirations of young women working in call centres in New Dehli outsourced from the UK and examines the ways in which they negotiate patriarchal expectations of management family and culture, actively constructing new identities which work for them in the new India. This is a compelling account of fast changing industry which Basi captures with sophisticated theoretical analysis as well as a woman’s eye and understanding.' - Ruth Pearson, Director, Centre for Development Studies, University of Leeds, UK
'Tina Basi makes an invaluable contribution to discussions on globalization and postcolonial subjectivity through a captivating study of women call centre workers in India referencing their lives inside and outside the workplace. The focus on identity and agency ensures the emergent picture is one of complexity and contradiction, exploitation and empowerment, challenging singular depictions of docility prevalent in the literature to date.' - Diane Perrons, Gender Institute, London School of Economics, UK
1. Introduction: 'A Myriad of Well-Wishing Little Sisters' 2. Globalizing India: The Rise of the Call Centre and BPO Industries 3. Pinking and Rethinking Professional Identities: The Construction of Women's Work Identities 4. BTMs in BPOs: Using Sartorial Strategies to Establish Patterns of Identification and Recognition 5. Techs and the City: Challenging Patriarchal Norms through Spatial Practice 6. Conclusion: Agency and Identity
J.K. Tina Basi holds a PhD in Gender Studies and Sociology from the University
of Leeds. Previously a freelance ethnographic researcher with Intel’s Digital
Health Group in Ireland, she has also established a consultancy, Mehfil
Enterprise, conducting corporate ethnography in media and technology related
industries. She is currently working on a new ethnographic research project about spirituality.