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No doubt this will become a primer for anyone interested in gender, work, call centers, family, and more, in South Asia. Poster, Anthropological Quarterly. 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. Overall, Patel provides a captivating inquiry into the complex reality of high-wage labor and its implications for women's autonomy. 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.

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. However, the social impacts of call centers within India are immense and largely uncharted.

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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. 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.


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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.

Amidst renewed surveillance by the media and community, how these women navigate new freedoms of transportation, housing, and socializing is a fascinating story. Here, she reveals what may be the in the long run the most important facet of women working in the call center industry—how they creatively negotiate new demands placed on the middle classes to produce the wealth and forms of connection spread upward mobility to other family members and future generations.

Its compelling narratives demonstrate the complexity of professional experiences and the ways in which working women align global work commitments with reconrmed gender roles and family duties. The study gives deep insight into the simultaneous feeling of freedom and experience of exploitation that women endure in their professional lives. We were in the bulkhead, the first row of any flight cabin. As we landed, there were reporters flooding the jet bridge to photograph the first person off the flight.

Technically, based on his seat, that was Dad. But as he figured out what was happening, he insisted I go first so I could be the star. I stood there with my 7-year-old smile, bright-colored headband, and long V-neck Limited Too sweater hanging down to my thighs.

I was mortified. But Dad wanted us to experience absolutely everything there was in life. He wanted to take me to all 50 states by the time I was We put a big U. But I sort of doubt, for the most part, they had the kind of wanderlust and open-mindedness and fascination that your father had with the world, and still does for that matter. It was woven into your tapestry. Into the fabric of who you are, and how you look at other people and the world. I understood the weight and privilege as a kid. I understood — we all did — that the AAirpass meant my father could travel and do business in unprecedented ways, and it allowed our entire family to travel in ways few people on earth could.

We got the privileges, all of them, all of us. I ask my sister, Natalie, a psychotherapist living in Chicago, her earliest memories of traveling on an airplane: landing in Australia at age 3, walking down the aisle as the plane was still moving, and someone grabbing her to keep her safe. But I was aware very early. Wont to interrogate privilege — race, class and otherwise — I pry. Did she really get that first class was different than the rest of the plane? It was clear I was surrounded by mostly people who had a lot of money, and I was always one of the only kids in first class, and that felt weird and I always wanted to be with other kids in coach.

That trip to Australia I was in fifth grade was our first big international family vacation. You and Josh are in all the black-and-white-check stuff. It was so unusual to be Americans at Christmas in Tokyo. It was about seeing the world …. We wanted to connect to the people. For a while we were in touch …. We would send him pictures and things. People enriched us. Hopefully we enriched others. She starts laughing as she recalls a time we visited the Holy Sepulchre in Israel and Dad got in trouble for laying down with his yoga strap, trying to stretch his back in front of the church.

The travel was first class, the hotels were first class, but the experiences were very real and authentic. O n October 6, , Josh — 15 and a half — was hit by a car while walking down the sidewalk. A car had pulled an illegal U-turn. To avoid a collision, another driver accidentally accelerated, swerved up onto the sidewalk and flung Josh into the side of a building.

His head hit the building. He was knocked unconscious.

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My uncle Jeffrey called me from Scarsdale and told me to get on a plane. It was my first month of college; I rushed to the Philadelphia Airport and bought a ticket home. It would be at least another 15 years before I could descend the American Airlines baggage claim escalator without going into a trauma shock.

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Over a thousand people attended his funeral. Lorraine helped get people on flights. Ernie from American says it was sad to watch Dad when they occasionally saw each other over the years.

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His only son. Outwardly, his strength was renowned. But I knew how much it impacted him … I know his children meant more to him than any business deal, than any situation in life that could come up. I had asked Dad what the media tends to overlook when they cover this story. I was just very confused and very lonely and I was calling American Airlines because they were logical people for me to speak to. They knew me. I knew them. I knew their names. I knew their lives. I knew that a husband and wife both worked at the Raleigh-Durham reservations office of American.

So by calling the number, I was able to talk to somebody in my loneliness. I talk to Natalie, who was still at home with a front row seat to his grief while I was away at college. She tells me about the shame Dad felt when people in our community often pitied him after Josh died — and still do to this day — as if he were a broken man. But the airport and American were where he was still treated like a full, whole man.


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  4. I went into the ticket counter. I checked in my luggage for London. Turns out a letter had been drafted to notify Dad that they were concerned with his behavior and use of the pass. But they decided not to send it. I was probably more shocked than anyone else. He called someone in the baggage department at Heathrow, who assisted. Aamil never made it to Sarajevo. In fact, that was one of the last times they ever spoke. Ultimately, Aamil disappeared from our lives. Dad went home. Told Mom. Got in bed.

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    And slept for the rest of the weekend, and arguably — at least figuratively — for a really long time after that. And I had no idea how I was going to live my life the way I lived it. His blood. It was his superpower. Dad was one of a few lifetime, unlimited AAirpass holders that American had been monitoring and claimed had breached their contracts. But now, after years of quiet and secret investigation, apparently Dad and others were costing American too much money. Even though Dad had dealt with the reservations agents on an almost daily basis, it was the revenues department that got involved, interjected, and launched an investigation that brought the whole house down.

    Why Americans Are Rude When Calling Indian Call Centers

    The dollar amount was based on the value of the lifetime unlimited AAirpass the last time it was sold for public consumption — though American had stopped selling them in , a Neiman Marcus catalogue offered them for 3 million bucks.