Subjects, Subjectivity, and Subjectification in Call Center Work: The Doings of Doings

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In postindustrial society, paid labor is increasingly characterized as tertiary labor rather than primary or secondary labor and commonly mediated by computer and telecommunication technologies. However, there are few ethnographic studies on the production of the subject and subjectivity in postindustrial workplaces. This article reports a poststructurally informed ethnographic research in four telephone call centers, focusing on how technological and managerial practices are deployed and continuously oriented to in subjectification processes. The result, although "rational" and "real," is shown to be a construction of concerted compliance and secondary adjustments through strategic processes named shadowboxing with data. Implications for the study of subjectivity and subjectification are discussed.