The Call Centre and Its Many Players

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Call centres have been presented as a poster child for many things ranging from a leap in management success, to a locale of total panoptic power, to electronic sweatshops, to the latest effort in deskilling physical and emotional labour for corporate profit, to an outpost of corporate empire. Proponents of these positions frame their assertions with theoretical positions that advance particular views of either 'nature' or 'society' as the commonsensically-present 'active ingredient' behind the forces at play. Aided by actor-network theory, this article attempts to avoid these theoretically-constructed positions to describe how some of the many and varied actors (both human and non-human) contribute to the day-to-day production of call centres and call centre work in and of themselves. Through this analysis, the article demonstrates how artefacts produced in the field itself both help and enable self-discipline of the living in an ongoing reflective accomplishment of order.