Language as raw material, scripts as tools and conversations as product: effects of linguistic production on job categories in outsourced call centres.

Amado Alarcón, Josep Ubalde & Josiah Mc. Heyman
New Technology, work and Employment

The article shows how linguistic criteria have become central when defining job categories in the outsourced call centre sector in Spain. Language occupies a central role in the production processes of informational capitalism: in call centres, language functions as the raw material, scripts as tools and conversations as a product. Yet the ways in which linguistic production affects key elements of job categories have received little attention. Drawing on in‐depth interviews in the call centre sector, the analysis of scripts and collective agreements, this article shows how trade unions and workers are pushing to adapt Fordist arguments based on job autonomy to informational production, arguing that job categories may depend on linguistic autonomy from the scripts during the labour process.