Neutral Accent: How Language, Labor, and Life Become Global
A. Aneesh is Director of the Institute of World Affairs and Associate Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He is the author of Virtual Migration: the Programming of Globalization, also published by Duke University Press.
Glimpsing an Urban Future: Divergent Tracks of Gurgaon
This chapter takes as its object of analysis the city of Gurgaon, the largest hub of India’s call centers. Gurgaon is shown as an important urban variation that bears marks of the global age. It takes the functional logic of a modern city so far that it stops bearing resemblance to it. If global processes suggest a certain unhinging of social, economic and political relations from their local-territorial preconditions, this unraveling does not mean that the place has turned into a void. Just as cities located on the shores of oceans and rivers and other waterways developed a particular port-city form, we can explore Gurgaon as a city located at the nexus of global information highways, signaling a set of connections different from the ones that defined a regular city. While Gurgaon may have a lot in common with conventional cities, three essential features of Gurgaon define it as part of a new urban variation that is emerging in fast-growing economies like India and China. First, the shape and trim of Gurgaon is not that of a single city but a collection of mini cities. Second, the character of Gurgaon appears defined more by other places than by its surroundings. Third, the city is gradually emerging as a set of transnational enclaves, or more formally, of special economic zones (SEZs).