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Servicing a world elsewhere? Examining everyday work practices in the emerging economic spaces of Malaysia's business process outsourcing industry

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The paper seeks to illuminate everyday work practices in the economic spaces of Malaysia's business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. It draws upon empirical evidence from call centre staff and promotes analytical sensitivity to the experience of labour and spatiotemporal relations within the offshore back offices of multinational corporations located in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. The analysis provides an empirical snapshot of how IT‐facilitated work practices in the global information economy are embedded and socially reproduced in everyday settings. To this end, the paper engages anthropologically with BPO labour, and critiques ‘globalist’ representations of economic and social transformation frequently articulated through an abstract, dehumanized space of networks and flows often seen to wash over local places, culture and people.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, PRC

Publication date: July 1, 2011


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