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
Inside a Call Center: Otherworldly Passages
This chapter looks at the workings of a call center where the author worked for a few months. In addition to a general description, the chapter shows how separate registers were bound together in the workings of the call center: how the body's diurnal hardwiring adjusted to a nocturnal diet, how agents connected live with their customers in the United States and United Kingdom while Gurgaon slept quietly outside the business district, and how the trainees digested the laws and work processes of other lands, practiced accents and cultural performances for people they never knew, and places they would never see. Operating in American, British, or Australian time zones, this chapter analyzes call centers as unique, previously unavailable, sites for examining the point of global contact where cultures are forced to make sense of each other through mechanisms provided by the culture of capitalism.