Reflecting on a call centre workers’ inquiry. Contradictions, tensions, and the role of the researcher

Woodcock, Jamie (2020). Reflecting on a call centre workers’ inquiry. Contradictions, tensions, and the role of the researcher. Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa / The Italian Journal of Ethnography and Qualitative Research, 13(1) pp. 103–118.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3240/96826

Abstract

This article considers the ethnography of a call centre published as Working the Phones. It was conducted as part of a PhD project, during which the author worked in a call centre in London. The project was inspired by the critical Marxist approach of workers’ inquiry, combining auto-ethnographic methods while organising and working in a call centre. The article considers the findings of the project, particularly the embodied nature of the work and role of technology, as well as exploring its method and methodology, mainly focusing on the role of intervention. The strengths and weakness of the original project are considered as part of a critical reflection on what workers’ inquiry and workplace ethnography can contribute to understanding and changing work.

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