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Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centers

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  29 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Call centers have become a near-ubiquitous site of employment in our late capitalist world, with over a million people working there in the United Kingdom alone. The call center has become synonymous with low-paid, high-stress work under dictatorial supervision and precarious contracts. With Working the Phones, Jamie Woodcock draws on time spent employed in a non-unionized ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 15th 2017 by Pluto Press
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Dr. Chad Newton, PhD-HRD
I fully enjoyed Woodcock's book. I am an experienced laborer who served for 10 years in call centers of every industry: sales, nonprofit, lead generation, online education inquiries, inbound & outbound, debt collections, utilities, payroll, tax research, alarm security, telecommunications, technical support, healthcare, and pyramid scheme accounts. And, the findings in this book's conclusions directly apply to my experiences in all call centers I worked in. From Sutherland Global Services, Conce ...more
Ashok Kumar
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an excellent book. woodcock includes incredibly moving and funny anecdotes, deftly gliding between narrative and analysis, while observing and working the phone. thankfully the book doesn't end with observations only, its also a story of refusal, resistance, and reclamation. brilliant read, highly recommended!
Rose
Mar 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think this would only be useful if you yourself have never worked in customer service and you don't know anyone else who did either. It doesn't say anything new or useful and is actually very patronising.
Ashley
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best for:
Those who enjoy a good case study / ethnography and are interested in the state of organizing today.

In a nutshell:
Academic Jamie Woodcock is interested in labour organizing and, as his PhD dissertation spent time in a call center to learn more about the work -- and the resistance -- taking place there.

Worth quoting:
"'There were all sorts of rules.' For example, 'hanging coats on the back of your chair was banned, little things like that.' These were things that did not affect the produc
...more
Wendy Liu
I'm biased because I know & work with the author (through Notes From Below), but this is a useful Marxist analysis of call centres and how they fit into the wider economy. ...more
BeamOfSunlight
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fuck call centers. Woodcock's analysis is both engaging and excellently laid out.
Carman Chew
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A detailed yet easy-to-read account of exactly what the title promises
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