Dr. Karen Gregory’s review of Enda Brophy’s “Language Put to Work: The Making of the Global Call Centre Workforce” has been published in New Labor Forum.
Language Put to Work is a close inquiry into the nature of this digital assembly line, its implications for workers, and the possibilities for organized labour. But it is also a book that details the development of an economy dependent on such specifically skilled, communicative, exploitable, and managed workers. As Brophy suggests, the work itself is a form of punishment for workers, a degraded and standardized form of customer service that can push individuals to their cognitive and physical limits. Yet the very model of the call centre as an outsourced, or “offshored,” to use Brophy’s term, servile labor pool represents a break with earlier forms of work organization and is, as Brophy writes, the result of attacks on office workers who refused the deterioration of their working conditions as well as the result of corporations attempting to free themselves from the demands of unionized labour.
You can read the full review here.
This might be of interest to any Digital Society students who have been reading Jamie Woodcocks’ excellent book “Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres.”