Jan M. Padios examines the massive call center industry in the Philippines in the context of globalization, race, gender, transnationalism, and postcolonialism, outlining how it has become a significant site of efforts to redefine Filipino identity and culture, the Philippine nation-state, and the value of Filipino labor.
In 2011 the Philippines surpassed India to become what the New York Times referred to as the world's capital of call centers. By the end of 2015 the Philippine call center industry employed over one million people and generated twenty-two billion dollars in revenue. In A Nation on the Line Jan M. Padios examines this massive industry in the context of globalization, race, gender, transnationalism, and postcolonialism, outlining how it has become a significant site of efforts to redefine Filipino identity and culture, the Philippine nation-state, and the value of Filipino labor. She also chronicles the many contradictory effects of call center work on Filipino identity, family, consumer culture, and sexual politics. As Padios demonstrates, the critical question of call centers does not merely expose the logic of transnational capitalism and the legacies of colonialism; it also problematizes the process of nation-building and peoplehood in the early twenty-first century.
Table of contents:
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 1 1. Listening Between the Lines: Relational Labor, Productive Intimacy, and the Affective Contradictions of Call Center Work 34 2. Contesting Skill and Value: Race, Gender, and Filipino/American Relatability in the Neoliberal Nation-State 63 3 Inside Vox Elite: Call Center Training and the Limits of Filipino/American Relatability 93 4. Service with a Style: Aesthetic Pleasures, Productive Youth, and the Politics of Consumption 131 5. Queering the Call Center: Sexual Politics, HIV/AIDS, and the Crisis of (Re)Production 157 Conclusion 181 Notes 189 Bibliography 213 Index 225
Jan M. Padios is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.