This essay considers how and why the call center and the call center agent became the primary spatial, economic, and social signs of India's insertion into global capitalism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. By analyzing a range of literary and critical texts that jointly produced the discourse on India's global emergence, it demonstrates how the call center achieved a metonymic relation to the New India. Against the argument that the call center is a new motif, this essay argues that the call center agent became the paradigmatic New Indian subject because of her continuity with, as opposed to her disruption of, earlier forms of Indian global subjectivity. The call center does not mark a decisive transition from the postcolonial to the global. Rather, the economic and social (im)mobility presented by the call center agent, as well as her linguistic and vocal performances of India and Indianness, are formally symmetrical to those of the expatriate writer in diaspora, the “global” figure who dominated Indian Anglophone literature and criticism in its “postcolonial” phase, prior to its transfiguration by the world Anglophone literary rubric. This essay advances discussions of postcoloniality and globality in existing scholarship. Its interdisciplinary archive reveals the shared contours of literary and social scientific discussions of the New India.
- Call center
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory