Reena Patel

Endorsements for Working the Night Shift: Women in India's Call Center Industry


"Patel contributes to a growing literature that challenges the notion that increased income always translates into empowerment for women . . . Patel provides an insightful and well-researched study of how the call center industry has enhanced women's mobility in various ways by challenging some of the socially prescribed notions about women's place."—Ranjeeta Basu, Signs

"Overall, the book is well-written and easy to read. The case studies are detailed, interesting, and provide the reader a complex understanding of the varied ways in which the call center industry affects its female employees' lives. In the main, it provides a good foundation for students who want to study the effects of globalization on individuals and communities."—Sandya Hewamanne, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Patel's book offers a fascinating look into the complex manifestations of gender inequality within emerging markets such as India . . . Overall, Patel provides a captivating inquiry into the complex reality of high-wage labor and its implications for women's autonomy."—SaunJuhi Verma, American Journal of Sociology

"In a text which is refreshingly clearly written, free of too much gratuitous information, and which bears all the hallmarks of appropriate ethics and reflection on positionality, Patel has roundly succeeded in her task of sketching out a good deal of the social and economic anatomy of contemporary call centre work in urban India . . . Its accessible, personalised style will undoubtedly appeal to students in gender, geography, anthropology, and sociology, keen to flesh out the human face of feminised employment. Working the Night Shift also provides an excellent basis for debate and new lines of enquiry among researchers of evolving labour markets in developing nations in academic, policy and activist circles."—Sylvia Chant, Gender, Place and Culture

"It will be difficult for anyone who has not recently conducted research in India to appreciate the massive social changes which the outsourcing revolution has brought to that society. Reena Patel's excellent ethnography, Working the Night Shift does, however, succeed in conveying to readers a sense of what is involved when new customer service industries originating in the West explode on the local scene . . . [T]he book provides a much needed gender dimension to research on global call centres."—Bob Russell, Canadian Journal of Sociology

"Through the personal stories of a variety of women—from a single mother working to afford her rent to a middle-class daughter earning spending money—Patel creates an intimate portrait of a liberating but frequently dangerous profession, one which 'brings with it new challenges and new opportunities for women workers.' This well-written book will certainly give readers something to think about the next time they call to reserve a plane ticket or pay a bill."—Foreign Service Journal

"Call centers have become the flash point for debates about globalization. However, the social impacts of call centers within India are immense and largely uncharted. Patel makes an important contribution towards understanding this phenomenon through a rigorous focus on gender. Her lively prose makes this book accessible to all audiences but will be especially appealing to students of sociology, geography, women's studies, and anthropology."—Akhil Gupta, University of California, Los Angeles

"In this timely, beautifully written, and path-breaking ethnographic exploration, Patel brings to life the often unnoticed human beings who answer our phone calls on the other side of the world, making visible the dreams, lives, and desires of the women behind the anonymity of the call centers. In clear and accessible prose, she interweaves insightful analysis with the real life stories of these key players of economic globalization. Working the Night Shift should become indispensable reading; it is a book for everyone, for right now."—Cecilia Menjivar, Cowden Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Arizona State University

"This is a fascinating book. Combining an acute geographical imagination with careful attention to detail, Patel makes a significant contribution to debates about the complex and contradictory consequences of women's growing labour market participation. This is a key text for all social scientists interested in global change and new divisions of labour."—Linda McDowell, Professor of Human Geography, University of Oxford

"Patel provides a rare glimpse into the lives of Indian women, as global call centers dislodge restrictions on mobility and transport them into night and public worlds. Amidst renewed surveillance by the media and community, how these women navigate new freedoms of transportation, housing, and socializing is a fascinating story."—Winifred Poster, Lecturer in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Washington University



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