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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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Clients: operationalising consensus, internalising discipline

Clients: operationalising consensus, internalising discipline

(p.77) 5 Clients: operationalising consensus, internalising discipline
Disciplined Agency

Patrícia Alves de Matos

Manchester University Press

Chapter 5 considers the creation of client sovereignty within call centres, how it shapes the nature of the operator–client relationship and how it contributes to the overall specificity of call centre labour as a regime of disciplined agency. The client, as a figure of authority, shapes the way labour as a service is mobilised within the sector. To promote the everyday realisation of client sovereignty, firms engage in extensive marketing operations and ritualised collective gatherings with the purpose of creating what they designate the ‘transcendent client’. On the shop floor, the morally embedded nature of operator–client interactions mediates the conditions whereby the ideology of the ‘customer as king' comes to be accommodated or challenged by operators. One particular form of contestation that takes place on the shop floor is the construction of the ‘stupid client’ through gossip, humour and rumours.

Keywords:   client sovereignty, marketing, shop floor, gossip, humour

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