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LRDG: "You have to make the script your own": the question of language commodification, control and agency in a multilingual London call centre

Date: 1 July 2014 Time: 1.00-2.00 pm

Venue: C89, County South, Lancaster University

At the next Literacy Research Discussion Group session (Tuesday 1 July) we will be pleased to welcome Johanna Woydack (King's College London) who will be speaking on:

"You have to make the script your own": the question of language commodification, control and agency in a multilingual London call centre

Ever since their creation, call centres have been the focus of controversy partly because they are widely seen as the new sweatshops but also the epitome of the perfect panopticon. Key to this control and symbolic of this are said to be pre-written corporate scripts that impose a specific branded corporate persona on call centre workers. It is assumed that agents follow them through continuous surveillance. Drawing on several years of fieldwork in a London multilingual call centre in this paper it is argued that the role of call centre scripts has not only been widely misunderstood but also misrepresented for historical, methodological and epistemological reasons and that instead the control mechanism and point of struggle are targets. This research suggests that call centre agents experience scripts as tools they can personalise and which allow them to do their jobs well and acquire new linguistic capital.

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Who can attend: Anyone

 

Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Corporate communication, Language, Literacies, Multilingualism

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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