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Disciplined AgencyNeoliberal Precarity, Generational Dispossession and Call Centre Labour in Portugal$
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Patrícia Alves de Matos

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526134981

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526134998

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Disciplined Agency

Patrícia Alves de Matos

Manchester University Press

This chapter introduces the reader to the the Portuguese call centre sector, as well as selected local and national features. The most relevant theoretical frameworks underpinning the book’s analysis and main arguments are mapped. The chapter argues for the relevance of addressing neoliberal precarity as a historically and morally embedded reality, rendered workable by State-led accumulation and ideologies of development, mediated by contingent, relational structures of feeling, and enacted in specific service-labour regimes. There follows a definition of the call centre labour process as a regime of disciplined agency, capable of incorporating into the valorisation process operators’ morally, relationally and socially embedded agentive linguistic capacities of creative improvisation, decision-making, problem-solving and ethical evaluation. The final two sections provide a brief overview of the rest of the book, the methodological options taken during the fieldwork and sources of data.

Keywords:   neoliberal precarity, historical and moral embeddedness, disciplined agency, call centres, fieldwork

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