Virtual Migration: The Programming of Globalization

Virtual Migration: The Programming of Globalization

Paperback

By (author) A. Aneesh

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  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 224mm x 15mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 26 June 2006
  • Publication City/Country: North Carolina
  • ISBN 10: 0822336693
  • ISBN 13: 9780822336693
  • Illustrations note: 2 b&w photographs, 4 tables, 4 figures
  • Sales rank: 596,779

Product description

Workers in India program software applications, transcribe medical dictation online, chase credit card debtors, and sell mobile phones, diet pills, and mortgages for companies based in other countries around the world. While their skills and labour migrate abroad, these workers remain Indian citizens, living and working in India. A. Aneesh calls this phenomenon "virtual migration," and in this groundbreaking study he examines the emerging "trans-national virtual space" where labour and vast quantities of code and data cross national boundaries, but the workers themselves do not. Through an analysis of the work of computer programmers in India working for the U.S. software industry, Aneesh argues that the programming code that connects globally dispersed workers through data servers and computer screens is the key organizing structure behind the growing phenomenon of virtual migration. This "rule of code," he contends, is a crucial and understudied aspect of globalization. Aneesh draws on the sociology of science, social theory, and research on migration to illuminate the practical and theoretical ramifications of virtual migration. He combines these insights with his extensive ethnographic research in offices in three locations in India--Delhi, Gurgaon, and Noida--and one location in New Jersey. To bring out the particularities of virtual migration, Aneesh compares it to the physical migration of programmers called "body shopping," the practice of bringing programmers from other countries to the United States (in this case, from India to New Jersey) to work on site. A significant contribution to the social theory of globalization, Virtual Migration maps the expanding trans-national space where globalization is enacted via computer programming code.

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Author information

A. Aneesh is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Review quote

"Virtual Migration is an exciting, innovative, and brilliant examination of how software flows replace people flows. It joins the urgent effort now underway in the social sciences to map a new field of inquiry." Saskia Sassen, coeditor of Digital Formations "Virtual Migration is a phenomenal book on a very important topic. A. Aneesh not only describes, explains, and interprets the phenomena of 'body shopping' and virtual migration in the global software industry, with especial emphasis on India and the United States; he also provides a series of suggestions to improve policymaking in these rapidly changing areas of the global economy." Mauro F. Guillen, Dr. Felix Zandman Professor of International Management in the Wharton School of Business and Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania "Virtual Migration is an exciting, innovative, and brilliant examination of how software flows replace people flows. It joins the urgent effort now under way in the social sciences to map a new field of inquiry."--Saskia Sassen, coeditor of Digital Formations "Virtual Migration is a phenomenal book on a very important topic. A. Aneesh not only describes, explains, and interprets the phenomena of 'body shopping' and virtual migration in the global software industry, with especial emphasis on India and the United States; he also provides a series of suggestions to improve policymaking in these rapidly changing areas of the global economy."--Mauro F. Guillen, Dr. Felix Zandman Professor in International Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania "This is a brilliant and innovative intervention in the study of globalization that demonstrates how much the specific forms taken by global institutional arrangements and processes depend on the structure and design of computer code. Virtual Migration will be invaluable not only to students in science and technology studies but to scholars in all fields interested in the troubled politics of the global movement of capital, technology, and people."--Akhil Gupta, author of Postcolonial Developments

Back cover copy

"This is a brilliant and innovative intervention in the study of globalization that demonstrates how much the specific forms taken by global institutional arrangements and processes depend on the structure and design of computer code. "Virtual Migration" will be invaluable not only to students in science and technology studies but to scholars in all fields interested in the troubled politics of the global movement of capital, technology, and people."--Akhil Gupta, author of "Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India"