Call Centre Cosmopolitanism: Global Capitalism and Local Identity in Indian Fiction

Anna Michal Guttman, Lakehead University, Canada


Call centres employ less than 0.1% of India’s estimated workforce. Yet business process outsourcing companies have, according to Shashi Tharoor “become the symbol of India’s rapidly globalizing economy.” Much postcolonial analysis of the call centre as has focused on the deleterious impact of call centre agents’ need to take on new names, accents, and personal stories that disguise their location and origins in India. Yet recent novels also depict the call centre as a space where boundaries imposed by caste, religion, gender and region can be transgressed. Drawing on Robert Halsall’s concept of “corporate cosmopolitanism,” and Suman Gupta’s analysis of popular Indian fiction and youth culture, I argue that these texts construct a local cosmopolitanism that simultaneously challenges Eurocentric discourses of cosmopolitanism and established theories of postcolonialism.


globalization; popular culture; cosmopolitanism

Full Text: