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Phone ClonesAuthenticity Work in the Transnational Service Economy$
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Kiran Mirchandani

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450648

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450648.001.0001

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Transnational Customer Service

Transnational Customer Service

A New Touchstone of Globalization

(p.16) 1 Transnational Customer Service
Phone Clones

Kiran Mirchandani

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines transnational customer service work as a new touchstone of globalization and situates it within contemporary social configurations of race, gender, nationalism, and class. It first provides an overview of several histories that provide elements of the “map” to account for the remarkable growth of the Indian call center industry; these histories include the establishment of schooling infrastructure during colonial rule, state economic and immigration policies, and capital investments in the West aimed at cultivating opportunities for lower labor costs. The chapter proceeds by considering the recent growth of India's technology-related service industry in relation to the broader trends of the transnationalization of service work. It explains how the globalization of service work offers a window into the microprocesses of global economic capitalism. It also analyzes the lived experiences of call center workers and how they straddle three kinds of borders: class borders, citizenship borders, and the borders between production and social reproduction.

Keywords:   transnational customer service, globalization, race, gender, nationalism, class, India, call center industry, capitalism, call center workers

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