Encoding Race, Encoding Class
Indian IT Workers in Berlin
Duke University Press 2016
New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books Network December 13, 2017 Madhuri Karak
Associate professor of anthropology at the University of Washington Sareeta Amrute has written Encoding Race, Encoding Class: Indian IT Workers in Berlin (Duke University Press, 2016), a study of contemporary capitalism, new forms of work, and the racialized underpinnings of immaterial labor regimes.
Amrute conducted research among Indian IT workers —“coders”—who were in Berlin for the short-term under Germany’s Green Card program. Instead of tech workers unmarked by race, class or gender, she introduces readers to their “double location”: as unwanted racialized immigrant and simultaneously as part of India’s globalized technoelite. Focusing equally on spaces of work and leisure, jokes circulated over email, gift sharing practices, political cartoons and advertisements, Amrute depicts a world that is constrained but not circumscribed by neoliberal logics.
Madhuri Karak is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her dissertation titled “Part-time Insurgents, Civil War and Extractive Capital in an Adivasi Frontier explores processes of statemaking in the bauxite-rich mountains of southern Odisha, India. She tweets @madhurikarak and more of work can be found here.