Working the Phones
Control and Resistance in Call Centers
Pluto Press 2017
What are the working conditions and what are the possibilities for change in the contemporary economy?
In Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centers (Pluto Press, 2017), Jamie Woodcock, a fellow at the London School of Economics, analyses perhaps the most important form of contemporary working institution, the call centre. Based on a detailed ethnography, the book describes the working conditions, labour processes, and affective effects of call centre work. The book offers theoretical reflections embedded in the empirical material, easily fusing key contemporary thinkers on work and labour with the lived reality of working the phones. It shows the practices of management, control, and crucially, resistance in the call centre. Moreover, by adopting the approach of a workers’ inquiry and reflecting on the limits of this mode of academic research, the book offers reflections on the need and the prospect for change. The book will be essential reading for management, sociology and cultural studies, as well as for anyone interested in current practices of working life.