• Encoding Race, Encoding Class: Indian IT Workers in Berlin

    Author(s):
    Pages: 280
    Illustrations: 9 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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    978-0-8223-6117-6
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    978-0-8223-6135-0
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  • Acknowledgments  ix

    Introduction: Cognitive Work, Cognitive Bodies  1

    Part I. Encoding Race

    1. Imagining the Indian IT Body  29

    2. The Postracial Office  54

    3. Proprietary Freedoms in an IT Office  86

    Part II. Encoding Class

    4. The Stroke of Midnight and the Spirit of Entrepreneurship: A History of the Computer in India  111

    5. Computers Are Very Stupid Cooks: Reinventing Leisure as a Politics of Pleasure  137

    6. The Traveling Diaper Bag: Gifts and Jokes as Materializing Immaterial Labor  164

    A Speculative Conclusion: Secrets and Lives  185

    Notes  203

    Bibliography  231

    Index  253
  • "In addition to the valuable text, users of the publication are also to benefit from the acknowledgments as well as the lucid introduction; copious notes; the detailed bibliography; and the valuable subject index."

    “What stands out in her well-crafted and thoroughly researched ethnography is how various notions of Indianness ... permeate the transnational/Germany workplace and how it is interpreted, negotiated, and occasionally also appropriated. Drawing on a vast array of representations of Indian IT professionals in German media and elsewhere, Amrute’s analysis ... provides insight on a changing world.”

    Reviews

  • "In addition to the valuable text, users of the publication are also to benefit from the acknowledgments as well as the lucid introduction; copious notes; the detailed bibliography; and the valuable subject index."

    “What stands out in her well-crafted and thoroughly researched ethnography is how various notions of Indianness ... permeate the transnational/Germany workplace and how it is interpreted, negotiated, and occasionally also appropriated. Drawing on a vast array of representations of Indian IT professionals in German media and elsewhere, Amrute’s analysis ... provides insight on a changing world.”

  • "Telling an unusual story about the global 'cognitariat' through the lenses of class and race, Sareeta Amrute takes us from close readings of the everyday life of the racially overdetermined Indian IT worker in Germany to a much broader historicization and conceptualization of how and why such bodies (and minds) end up in Germany in the first place. Encoding Race, Encoding Class will make an impact not just on Europeanist anthropology, but on studies of migration, globalization, critical race theory, and the social and cultural dimensions of science and technology. An outstanding and compelling book."
      — Andrea Muehlebach, author of, The Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in Italy

    "In this pathbreaking book Sareeta Amrute challenges some of the more pedestrian notions around race and technology, showing how race gets encoded in technology, not only at the level of devices and platforms, but at the level of structure, infrastructure, and systemic formulations of the bodies of technology and the technologized bodies of digital globalization. Bound to excite interest from a variety of disciplines, Encoding Race, Encoding Class will emerge as a critical milestone in the landscape of scholarship on the intersections of technology, body, race, and policy."
      — Nishant Shah, Cofounder of the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, India

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  • Description

    In Encoding Race, Encoding Class Sareeta Amrute explores the work and private lives of highly skilled Indian IT coders in Berlin to reveal the oft-obscured realities of the embodied, raced, and classed nature of cognitive labor. In addition to conducting fieldwork and interviews in IT offices as well as analyzing political cartoons, advertisements, and reports on white-collar work, Amrute spent time with a core of twenty programmers before, during, and after their shifts. She shows how they occupy a contradictory position, as they are racialized in Germany as temporary and migrant grunt workers, yet their middle-class aspirations reflect efforts to build a new, global, and economically dominant India. The ways they accept and resist the premises and conditions of their work offer new potentials for alternative visions of living and working in neoliberal economies. Demonstrating how these coders' cognitive labor realigns and reimagines race and class, Amrute conceptualizes personhood and migration within global capitalism in new ways.

    About The Author(s)

    Sareeta Amrute is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington.
     
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