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Guide to Graduate School Funding
 

Guide to Graduate School Funding

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For graduate students who are new to academia and are as befuddled by the grant-writing process as I was, I hope the information contained is this guide will be of help to you. There is money out ...

For graduate students who are new to academia and are as befuddled by the grant-writing process as I was, I hope the information contained is this guide will be of help to you. There is money out there for all kinds of projects. The key is to market your project accordingly.

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  • If you download the document, please join the facebook page of the guide and my book, Working the Night Shift: Women in India’s Call Center at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=106631019373960.

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    Guide to Graduate School Funding Guide to Graduate School Funding Document Transcript

    • For graduate students who are new to academia and are as befuddled by the grant-writing process as I was, I hope the information contained is this guide will be of help to you. There is money out there for all kinds of projects. The key is to market your project accordingly.GrantProposalsAAUW, NSEP, and NSF-DDRIReena Patel, Ph.D.www.working-the-nightshift.com
    • During the course of research and writing for Working the Night Shift: Women inIndia‘s Call Center Industry, I raised approximately $80,000 in funding fromsources such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National SecurityEducation Program (NSEP and also known as the Boren Fellowship), and theAmerican Association of University Women (AAUW).As a graduate student, grant-writing was a mystery to me and I often wished Icould find samples of successful grants proposals. Yet to ask for another person‘sgrant proposal was the equivalent of asking them their salary—taboo subject, butone that would be quite useful when competing for funding.For students who would like samples of grant proposals that received funding, thisdocument contains: 1) AAUW, NSEP, and NSF-DDRI proposals I wrote as aPh.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin; 2) Suggestions on grant-writing from Professor Talbot; and 3) List of the various funding sources I drewfrom.If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them on the FacebookBook Page or email me at reena@working-the-nightshift.com.Best of luck on grant-writing!Reena Patel, Ph.D.January 9, 2011
    • Grant-Writing Suggestions By Professor Cynthia Talbot1) Tailor your proposal for each funding agency. If possible, learn something about the agency and its objectives. Find out whatever you can about the composition of the panel of reviewers for a particular grant competition -- i.e., will they all be in your discipline or share your area focus? Are there a series of steps in the review process, with different types of reviewers? Adjust your proposal with the audience in mind! Do not use discipline-specific jargon that is incomprehensible to others, if it is an interdisciplinary competition. Do not presume detailed knowledge of South Asia, if all of the reviewers are not South Asia specialists.2) Allow yourself plenty of time. Try to get samples of successful proposals to that particular funding agency and study them carefully. Circulate drafts of your own proposal to as many people as you can for critcal comments. Write and rewrite until the proposal is as perfect as you can get it. Apply to as many agencies as possible.3) Carefully follow the guidelines specified by the particular funding agency. Make sure you have clearly discussed all the questions or apects of the proposed project that are mentioned in the application form. You may jeopardise your chances otherwise, since failure to follow guidelines is a simple way to eliminate proposals from the pool. It is helpful if you can organize your argument under the topics suggested or highlight phrases that address their concerns. Do not exceed page limits.4) Remember that the reviewers are over-worked volunteers -- they may be reading up to 200 proposals within a very short period of time, for no compensation whatsoever but out of a sense of obligation to the profession. Make it easy for them by being as clear and neat as possible. Do not expect the reviewer to expend a lot of effort in understanding you. Extend them the courtesy of turning in a nicely printed and proofed product that is legible. Do not try their patience in any way, for example, by using tiny fonts or reducing margins. Dont take forever getting to the point.4) Remember that it is your responsibility to sell yourself and your proposed project. You must convince the reviewer both that your project is significant and feasible, and also that you are qualified to carry it out. Hence, do not be overly modest in describing yourself nor the potential
    • Grant-Writing Suggestions (Continued) By Professor Cynthia Talbot contributions of the project -- within reasonable limits, of course. If you are not confident, why should they be? Try to convey a sense of enthusiasm for the project.6.) Put considerable effort into conceptualizing your project. It should have a central problem(s) or question(s) that it is attempting to answer. These should be clearly and consistently posed throughout the proposal. Be focused!7) You should demonstrate awareness of previous scholarship on the topic and discuss your projects relation to it. Also situate the approach you will take within the pertinent methodological and theoretical literature. (However, do not bite off more theory than you can handle. This is worse than no theory at all.)8) Contextualize your proposed project as broadly as you can, in terms of its possible contributions. What are its implications for other fields and disciplines? The more, the better.9) Present a plan of work in as specific terms as possible. Say where you are going to go, what kinds of data you will obtain, how you will obtain it, and how you propose to analyze it. Make sure your timetable is feasible. It is important that reviewers not only feel that your project is important but also that it is doable.10) In connection with the point above, be sure to mention aspects of your previous training, experience, or research that relates to the proposed project. If youve been to the site you are proposing to conduct research at before, say so. If you have already established contacts or written a paper or thesis on the subject, say so. You need to establish your own credentials to carry out the work.11) The only concrete basis that the reviewer has for estimating the quality of your future contributions is your proposal. If you can write an interesting and convincing grant proposal, you will probably be able to produce an interesting and convincing thesis. Be logical, succinct, and exciting!!
    • Ph.D. Funding Sources For Working the Night Shift2007 Romero Award $250 Article Writing2007 Asian Speciality Group - Student Paper Award $250 Article Writing2006 QSRG Award - Qualitative Research Paper Award $500 Article Writing2005 APCG - Harry & Shirley Bailey Paper Award $150 Article Writing $1,1502007 NSEP Travel Grant $790 Conference $2007 Geography and the Environment Travel Grant $350 Conference $2007 Meyerson Travel Grant $500 Conference $2007 Professional Development Award $250 Conference $2006 AAUW - Austin $1,000 Conference $2006 Geography and the Environment Travel Grant $500 Conference $2005 Meyerson Travel Grant $700 Conference $2005 Geography and the Environment Travel Grant $570 Conference $2003 Meyerson Travel Grant $500 Conference $2003 Ward Fellowship $1,000 Conference $2003 Women’s and Gender Studies Travel Grant $250 Conference $2003 Travel Grant from Professor Paul Adams $200 Conference $2008 Geography and the Environment Travel Grant $300 Conference $ $6,9102007 AAUW - National $20,000 Dissertation Writing2007 University Continuing Fellowship $19,000 Dissertation Writing $39,0002007 NSF $11,758 Research2007 AAUW - Austin $1,000 Research2005 IEF Scholarship $1,300 Research2004 NSEP - David L. Boren Fellowship $18,100 Research $32,1582007 David Bruton, Jr. Graduate Fellowship $1,000 School2007 Geography - Research Assistance $250 School2005 David Bruton, Jr. Graduate Fellowship $1,000 School2004 Graduate Student Leadership Award $200 School $2,450 TOTAL $81,668
    • AAUW Dissertation Fellowship - Abstract The global mainstream media characterizes the IT sector, and transnational call centers inparticular, as catalysts for social change in India. Yet, the emergence of this industry is notshifting patriarchal relations of power in a significant way due to social and spatial constraints onwomen‘s mobility in the urban nightscape. Specific to call center employment, mobility isimportant because it requires night shift workers. For a woman in India to be out at this hour isgenerally considered improper and unsafe. However, women are participating in this industryand corporate strategies, such as the use of private shuttle vans to transport women to and fromwork in the middle of the night, reflect the ways in which both the industry and its femaleemployees negotiate a presence in the public sphere. Based on dissertation fieldwork currentlytaking place in Mumbai, India, I argue that the insertion of women into the urban nightscape, viathe night shift requirements of the global economy, is met with covert resistance. Although thereare no visible barriers such as ―men only‖ signs written into public space, women‘s bodiescontinue to be marked as a site of transgression.
    • AAUW Dissertation Fellowship Personal StatementInclude a statement of your career plans and goals. Discuss any special circumstances that have affected thechronology of your career and the achievement of your goals. In this statement, please describe your commitment tohelping other women, as well as your work as a teacher and mentor.Goals & Special Circumstances The AAUW Fellowship will allow me to write, full-time, a dissertation that I will seek topublish into a book. I intend to use this research to pursue a career in the area of science andtechnology policy. Over the long-term my goal is to advise both governmental and corporate entitieson gender-based linkages in technology, a critical issue as manufacturing expands in traditionalsocieties. I have an eight year gap between my bachelor‘s degree and return to graduate school. Duringthis time I lived in Boston, San Francisco, Honolulu, and Ghana as I followed opportunities to furthermy professional and personal growth. For instance, by 1998 I was a Product Manager and FoundingMember of Island Partners Hawaii, a Destination Management Company in Hawaii.Commitment to Women A key formative event that shaped my decision to focus on gender issues came fromundergraduate coursework in women‘s studies. It is through these classes that I began to articulatehow segregation and lack of equal status, particularly in the community I was raised in, shaped myexperience of the world. From this coursework my commitment to women, and women‘s studies,unfolded in four ways. First, I served as a volunteer with Sister Offering Support. This organizationis committed to supporting women affected by prostitution and in 1998 I was awarded ―Volunteer ofthe Year‖ for my work in outreach services. Second, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana I learned how restrictions on women‘smobility intersects with globalization and IT development. As an IT volunteer, I lived in the UpperWest, a remote region deemed a poverty zone by the Ghanaian government. Disparities of everykind were to be found. In fact, the entire region, approximately 5,500 square miles, had only onepublic library. My project contributed to narrowing the digital divide by bringing internet access andcomputer classes to Wa, capital of the Upper West. However, the level of access one had to suchservices and how IT was used operated on a gendered paradigm. Women primarily participated incomputer literacy classes with hopes of obtaining a secretarial position in the town. In contrast, menprimarily used the internet to obtain admission and funding to universities abroad. In addition, lessthan 10% of the customer base was women. Their lack of transport, in the form of a bicycle ormoped, and the evening office hours were cited as reasons for not participating. Third, I pursued thesis research on the re-enforcement of tradition gender roles in the ITsector. A case study method focusing on female engineers in India served as a framework for thestudy. I presented the findings in a plenary session at the 2003 Women in IT conference held in Indiaand my research was published in Information Technologies and International Development, a peer-reviewed journal published by the MIT Press. Finally, in 2004-2005 I participated in the UT-Austin Mentor program. This voluntaryprogram gave me the opportunity to mentor freshmen women. In particular, I provided guidance inareas such career development, adjusting to college life, and dealing with issues of harassment.During this time, I also worked as a teacher‘s assistant for multiple sections of Intro. to HumanGeography. Through these classes I mentored women to pursue summer internships. Currently, as aPh.D. candidate in Mumbai, I am mentoring women who want to pursue graduate school educationin the United States.
    • AAUW Dissertation Fellowship ProposalIntroduction and Disciplinary SignificanceIn a recent review, Tuan (2004) contends that ―cultural geography remains almost whollydaylight geography‖ (Tuan 2004,730) and that more attention needs to be given to the ―afterhours.‖ This contention makes particular sense as the ―second shift,‖ namely a night shift laborforce, emerges in the global economy. The hyper-growth of the transnational call center industryin India is the quintessential example of this nightscape. The night shift requirement of thisindustry also intersects with the spatial and temporal construction of gender.The nightscape is primarily an exclusive, male domain. For instance, the Indian 1948 FactoriesAct states: no women shall be required or allowed to work in any factory except between thehours of 6 A.M. and 7 P.M. (Office of the Labour Commissioner 2006). Only as of March, 2005was this act amended. With the infusion of educated, middle and upper-class women into theurban nightscape, via call center employment, the nightscape brings forth class and genderconnotations that mark women‘s bodies as sites of transgression (Domosh 1998) – aka ―workingthe night shift.‖ In general, women who go out at night are associated with prostitution andquestionable moral values. Such processes provoke new questions about the spatial constructionof social identities.In this context, I examine how the global demand for 24-hour workers is re-configuring women‘sphysical, temporal, social, and economic mobility because of the night shift requirement of callcenter employment. Another key concern is how households respond to changes in women‘smobility. In particular, I examine the variety of spaces occupied by women as a result of callcenter employment to articulate how notions of gender are inscribed in the nightscape.This research draws from globalization discourse and feminist geography, and utilizes qualitativeresearch methods to investigate the ways in which space, place, and mobility of women workingin call centers shapes their identity at a variety of scales. In addition, the social and culturalnorms that mediate women‘s mobility are linked to broader processes, such as the rise of middleclass and economic globalization. I argue that notions of ―middle-class morality‖ mark women‘sbodies as the site of family honor, purity, and chastity (Nast 1998). This in turn has significantconsequences when thinking about the urban nightscape. For example, Ashini1, a 23 year oldemployee, states that her father‘s response to call center employment was ―call center job equalscall girl job.‖ Kavita goes on to argue that family concern for young women working the nightshift is less about physical safety and more about how a woman‘s presence in the urbannightscape will negatively impact a family‘s reputation. ―What will people think?‖ is a commonresponse women received from family members expressing hesitancy about night shiftemployment.My project addresses gaps in the literature by expanding the nine-to-five landscape ofgeography. It also contributes to women‘s studies by investigating how the global demand fornight shift female workers is reshaping, or perhaps reinforcing, gendered norms of mobility. Forinstance, mobility and access to public space is particularly important in terms of call centeremployment because it requires physical mobility in terms of transportation to and from work1 All participant names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual
    • AAUW Dissertation Fellowship Proposal (Continued)and temporal mobility in the form of Indian women working at night to coincide with the officehours of their overseas customers.For a woman to be out at night is generally considered improper and unsafe. However, womenare participating in this industry, and corporate strategies, such as the use of private shuttle vansto transport women to and from work in the middle of the night, reflect the ways in which boththe industry and its female employees negotiate a presence in the public sphere. In light of thesedynamics, my project addresses the following research questions: 1) How does the globaldemand for night shift workers re-codify women‘s physical and temporal mobility? 2) Whatspatial and temporal barriers do women face, both in the household and urban public space? 3)How does call center employment translate into social and economic mobility?Theoretical Approach and Research DesignA qualitative research methodology based on participant observation, in-depth interviews, andsurveys are used to gather data for this project. The methodology I use draws from the groundedtheory approach by Strauss and Corbin (1997). In contrast to hypothesis testing, which is basedon comparing findings to a predetermined set of outcomes, grounded theory is an inductiveapproach in which new findings emerge based on an ongoing interplay between collecting andanalyzing data.I will interview approximately 50 female call center employees and will seek a range ofemployees from married versus single, living at home versus living in a hostel or company dorm,and newly hired employees versus long term employees (one year or longer). A snowballsampling technique is used to identify individuals to interview. This technique is based uponasking interviewees to identify other potential research participants (Cresswell 1998). Althoughthis method is not a random sample, it will allow me to gain in-depth knowledge of theexperiences of call center employees. Interviews will also be conducted with approximately 20-25 family members of call center employees and 10-15 managers, former employees, andgovernment officials who are involved in IT policy. This sample will provide a differentunderstanding of how various actors inform and impact the experiences of female night shiftworkers. In addition, newspaper and television accounts relating to women‘s participation in thecall center industry are collected in order to assess how night shift workers are portrayed in themedia and community reaction to this relatively new industry.The interviews I seek to conduct, in combination with participant observation and mediaaccounts of the industry, will serve as the foundation for uncovering the spatial livelihoods ofcall center employees. As of August, 2006, 43 interviews consisting of employees, managers,and family members, were conducted. In addition, 180 surveys were collected and participantobservation was conducted in two call centers as well as various locales that employees frequent.The Ethnograph, a qualitative data analysis software program, will be used for automated coding,text search and retrieval, and pattern discernment.Research SiteDissertation fieldwork is taking place in Mumbai, Chennai, and Ahmadabad from January 2006to March 2007. Mumbai and Chennai are rapidly expanding call center hubs. Although both aremajor cities in India, Mumbai is considered a ―fast,‖ progressive city, whereas Chennai is viewed
    • AAUW Dissertation Fellowship Proposal (Continued)as far more conservative, particularly in terms of gender relations. Investigating night shiftemployment in Chennai, as a contrast to Mumbai, will provide an understanding of the rolespace and place has in reshaping women‘s mobility.Ahmadabad, a tier two city, was selected for this project because call centers from major cities,such as Mumbai, are actively recruiting women from this tier two city. Call centers areexpanding to tier two cities because human resources in major cities are exhausted and the wagesin tier two cities are lower. By investigating night shift employment in major cities and a tier twocity, my project will uncover the similarities and differences in the social, spatial, and economicmobility experienced by women who migrate to major cities for call center employment versusthose who remain in a tier two city to pursue call center employment.ConclusionA local U.S. workforce gone global now operates on a 24-hour timeframe that shifts the workspace and work time of customer service employees worldwide. Adam (2002) would label thisdynamic a ―colonization of time‖ whereby the western clock is commoditized, set as thestandard, and exported throughout the world (Adam 2002,21). This transformation of time into aglobal resource appears to expand some women‘s economic opportunities as well as recodifygendered norms of mobility and access to public space. At the same time, preliminary findingssuggest that regimes of surveillance and control remain firmly entrenched and continue to inhibitthe social and spatial mobility of female call center employees.The result of my research will be a dissertation that I plan to defend in May, 2008. Initialfindings will be presented at the December, 2006 Women in Technology conference held inChidambaram, India and the April, 2007 Association of American Geographer conference heldin Chicago. In regards to financial need, I have accumulated $71,978.15 in school loans. TheAAUW fellowship would allow me to write my dissertation and graduate without incurringfurther debt.Reference ListAdam, Barbara. 2002. The gendered time politics of globalization: Of shadowlands and elusive justice. Feminist Review 3, no. 70: 3-30.Cresswell, Tim. 1998. Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Domosh, Mona. 1998. Those gorgeous incongruities: Polite politics and public space on the streets of... Annals of the Association of American Geographers 88, no. 2: 209-27.Nast, Heidi. 1998. Unsexy geographies. Gender, Place, and Culture 5: 191-206.Office of the Labour Commissioner. 1948 Factories Act. Retrieved 15 August 2006. [available from http://labour.delhigovt.nic.in/act/html_ifa/fa1948_index.html.].Strauss, Anselm L. and Juliet M. Corbin. 1997. Grounded theory in practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Tuan, Yi Fu. 2004. Cultural Geography: Glances Backward and Forward. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 94, no. 4: 729-34.
    • AAUW Dissertation Fellowship Timeline for ResearchMy research is in the process of being carried out in the four stages discussed below.Stage One (January 2006 to April 2006)  Networked with existing contacts to pre-test interview questions and to obtain entry into call centers.  Attended the Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research (PUKAR) Gender and Space Conference. The Gender and Space Project was created in 2001 to investigate how the cityscape of Mumbai is gendered in ways that regulate women‘s mobility in public space.Stage Two (May 2006 to November 2006)  Conduct structured and semi-structured interviews with employees and participant observation in call centers. In-depth interviews are conducted outside the call center so as to alleviate concerns or apprehension that findings from my interviews will be divulged to the employing organization.  Interview family members of call center employees, managers, former employees, and government officials who are involved in IT policy.  Collect newspaper and television accounts relating to women‘s participation in the call center industry.Stage Three (December 2006 to March 2007)  Wrap up interviews in Mumbai  Present initial findings at the December 2006 Women in Technology conference held in Chidambaram, India and the March 2007 Association of American Geographer (AAG) conference held in San Francisco.  Network with editors at AAG to submit book proposal for publicationStage Four (April 2007 to March 2008)  Analyze data and write up dissertation to defend by March 2008The proposed chapter outline for my dissertation is: Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Theorizing Gender, Mobility, and Globalization Chapter 3: All Eyes are Watching: Regimes of Surveillance and Control Chapter 4: What Will People Think? The Mobile Woman and Middle-Class Morality Chapter 5: Conclusion
    • NSEP Essay Gender and Technology The Emergence of Call Centers in Mumbai, India Since the 1980s, the information technology (IT) sector in India has grown exponentiallyand extensive research has been done on the role of women in IT (Fountain2, Kelkar & Nathan3,Varma4). The recent emergence of call centers in India has gained considerable attention in themainstream media, but academically this area has been relatively unexplored. Unlike India‘sengineering field, in which women‘s lack of equitable participation has been thoroughlydocumented (Parikh & Sukhatme5,6, Patel7), the customer service positions which serve as thebasis of call center operations are primarily held by women. Yet the majority of executivepositions are held by men, suggesting the existence of occupational segregation. Although thetransnational aspects of call center operations are quite unique, and the IT sector is considered tobe a catalyst for social change, it appears that a re-assertion of traditional gender divisions isoccurring in this new and emerging industry. I am requesting NSEP support to conduct dissertation fieldwork on the relationshipbetween the economic mobility and physical/temporal mobility of Indian women working in callcenters. Despite the globalizing aspects of call centers – as exampled by a Delta Airlines2 Fountain, J. (2000). Constructing the information society: women, information technology, and design. Technology in Society, 22, 45-62.3 Kelkar, G., & Nathan, D. (2002). Gender relations and technological change in Asia. Current Sociology, 50(3), 427-441.4 Varma, R. (2002). Women in information technology: A case study of undergraduate students in a minority- serving institution. Bulletin of Science, Technology, and Society, 22 (4), 274-282.5 Parikh, P., & Sukhatme, S. (1992). Women engineers in India. Bombay, India: Indian Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering.6 Parikh, P., & Sukhatme, S. (2002). Women in the engineering profession in India: The Millennium Scenario. Mumbai, India: Indian Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering.7 Patel, R. The re-enforcement of traditional gender roles in the technology sector: case study of female engineers in India. Unpublished masters thesis, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, 2003.
    • NSEP Essay (Continued)customer in Chicago talking to a Delta travel agent in India about flight reservations to London –little attention is given to its impact on geographical concerns in relation to gender issues. Thefocus has primarily been on corporations moving back-office work overseas and the subsequentloss of U.S. jobs. This research is important because, as Massey8 explains, ―…control overmobility, both reflects and re-enforces power‖ (p. 150). Applying Massey‘s argument to callcenters, do the control and mobility held by multinational corporations in the form of call centeroperations empower women or maintain the status quo? For example, the mobility of women in the case of call centers is linked to the demand fornight shift (midnight-8am) workers. For a woman in India to be out at this hour is consideredimproper and unsafe. To circumvent this, companies offer shuttle-van transport. While at amicro-level this could be viewed as a protective measure for which multinationals should beapplauded, at the macro-level this may serve as a basis for maintaining the mobility of womenwithin a confined context because such transport is limited to the functionality it provides theemploying organization. Yet one must also consider that call centers offer women theopportunity to work in relatively high-paying jobs that would otherwise not be available. Byexamining this industry within the framework of globalization, economic development, andgender equity, I will investigate whether having the opportunity to work in a call center or thepresence of a call center itself changes the control women have over their mobility in a largercontext, both at the local and global level.8 Massey, D. (1996). Space, place, and gender. London: Blackwell Publishers.
    • NSEP Essay (Continued)Fieldwork in Mumbai will be conducted as follows: December 2004 - February 2005: o Surveys will be designed during Fall 2004 and brought to India for review/revision  Dr. Pravina Parikh, Mechanical Engineering Professor of IIT and Principal Investigator for the 1992 and 2002 studies on female engineers in India, has agreed to serve as an advisor for my research. Dr. Parikh designed and analyzed the surveys of more than 2,700 women throughout India. o Introduction to call center contacts  Mr. P. Venugopal, Director of International Business for the Software Technology Parks of India, expresses support for this research and has agreed to introduce me to contacts of multiple call centers o Attend the December 2004 Women in Technology (WIT) conference in India. I served as a plenary session speaker and chaired a technical session for the 2003 conference. Participation in this conference is critical to gaining further contacts in the industry. March 2005 - September 2005 o Conduct focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 75 women and men o Obtain permission from three call centers to conduct participant observation o Collect 100 surveys Due to the participant observation aspect of this research, the language component isessential to the success of this study. Even though call center operations are conducted inEnglish, discussions offline are often conducted in Hindi. I am able to understand Gujarati, arelated language, but am not conversant. However, my basic understanding will allow me tolearn Hindi much faster than a non-native speaker.
    • NSEP Security Essay India, with a population exceeding one billion people, is the largest democracy in theworld and home to more than 300 languages. It is experiencing sweeping changes internally andis embroiled in regional turmoil that has become more pronounced over the past few years. Thenuclear and ballistic missile capabilities of both India and Pakistan heighten this tension. Beyondthe military threat, the potential for cyber-terrorism in relation to India‘s IT sector is a significantthreat to U.S. national security interests. Fortune 500 companies, from IBM to Delta Airlines, arereliant on call centers and over the past five years various data processing functions such asinputting medical transcripts, credit card applications/billing, and even data maintenance of theNew York City subway schedule have been transferred to India. The offshore maintenance ofconfidential health and economic data along with the transportation information of a major U.S.airline leaves us extremely vulnerable to cyber-terrorism. Also, the overwhelming growth ofinternational linkages in the sphere of customer service marks a new change in global economicdevelopment and could pose a threat to our economic security. Given these potentially serious challenges to our national security interests, it is essentialthat the U.S. have citizens who are able to understand the culture and language of India. Theopportunity to conduct dissertation fieldwork in India would allow me to study important issuessurrounding gender and technology, and I seek to use this research to pursue a career in the areaof science and technology policy. Over the long-term my goal is to advise both governmentaland corporate entities on gender-based linkages in technology, a critical issue as manufacturingexpands in traditional societies.
    • NSF-DDRI Project SummaryIntellectual Merit The global mainstream media characterizes the Information Technology (IT) sector, andtransnational call centers in particular, as catalysts for social change in India. Yet there is limitedevidence of IT contributing to a dramatic transformation of Indian society in terms of genderrelations. In particular, the night shift requirement of the call center industry provides a new lensupon which to investigate the spatial and temporal construction of gender. The nightscape isprimarily an exclusive, male domain that often represents danger for women. An infusion ofeducated, middle and upper-class women into the urban nightscape, via call center employment,brings forth class and gender connotations that provoke new questions about the spatial constructionof social identities. In this context, I examine how the global demand for 24-hour workers is re-configuringwomen‘s physical, temporal, social, and economic mobility because of the night shift requirement ofcall center employment. Another key concern is how households respond to changes in women‘smobility. By investigating the variety of spaces occupied by women as a result of call centeremployment, I articulate how notions of gender are inscribed in the urban nightscape. Drawing fromglobalization discourse and feminist geography, my project will address the following researchquestions: 1) How does the global demand for night shift workers re-codify women‘s physical and temporal mobility? 2) What spatial and temporal barriers, as well as opportunities, do women face both in the household and urban public space? 3) How does call center employment translate into social and economic mobility or immobility? Research will take place in two major cities, Mumbai and Chennai, as well as tier two citiessuch as Ahmadabad and Jaipur. Qualitative research methods, such as participant observation andstructured/semi-structured interviews, are used in this study and I also collect media accounts of theindustry. The interviews I seek to conduct, in combination with participant observation and mediaaccounts of the industry, will serve as the foundation for uncovering the spatial livelihoods of callcenter employees.Broader Impacts The overwhelming growth of international linkages in the sphere of customer service marks asignificant shift in global telecommunications and development. It is also transforming the economyof India‘s major cities and tier two cities. Fortune 500 companies, from IBM to Delta Airlines, arereliant on call centers and various data processing functions such as inputting medical transcripts andcredit card applications/billing have been transferred to India. The offshore maintenance ofconfidential health and economic data along with the transportation information of a major U.S.airline brings forth new global security concerns such as cyber-terrorism.
    • NSF-DDRI Project Summary (Continued) The opportunity to conduct fieldwork in India‘s call centers allows for an increasedunderstanding of the growth and future direction of this relatively new industry. And by focusing onthe global demand for night shift workers, my research examines women‘s employment opportunitiesbeyond the traditional 9 - 5 timescape. At the same time, it uncovers how gendered norms of mobilityand access to public space impact women‘s participation in the formal economy of a developingnation. This serves as a foundation for understanding the ways in which women are being integratedinto the dominant, and arguably masculine, forces that are shaping the IT revolution.
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal Doctoral Dissertation Research: Working the Night Shift: Women’s Employment in the Transnational Call Center IndustryProject Description In a recent review, Tuan (2004) contends that ―cultural geography remains almost whollydaylight geography‖ (Tuan 2004,730) and that more attention needs to be given to the ―after hours.‖This contention makes particular sense as the ―second shift,‖ namely a night shift labor force,emerges in the global economy. The hyper-growth of the transnational call center industry in India isthe quintessential example of this nightscape. The nightscape is primarily an exclusive, male domainthat often represents danger for women. With the infusion of educated, middle and upper-classwomen into the urban nightscape, via transnational call center employment, the nightscape alsobrings forth class and caste connotations that mark women‘s bodies as sites of transgression(Cresswell 1996; Domosh 1998b) – aka ―working the night shift.‖ Such processes evoke newquestions about the spatial construction of social identities. I propose to examine how the demand for night shift workers in India is re-configuringwomen‘s physical, temporal, social, and economic mobility. Another key concern is how householdsrespond to changes in women‘s mobility. In particular, I examine the variety of spaces occupied bywomen as a result of call center employment to articulate how notions of gender are inscribed in thenightscape. This research draws from globalization discourses and feminist geography, and utilizesqualitative research methods, such as participant observation and in-depth interviews, to investigatethe ways in which space, place, and mobility of women working in transnational call centers shapestheir identity at a variety of scales. In addition, the social and cultural norms that mediate women‘smobility are linked to broader processes, such as the rise of middle class and the role of economicglobalization in the transformation of Indian society. I argue that notions of ―middle-class morality‖mark women‘s bodies as the site of family honor, purity, and chastity (Bondi and Domosh 1998;Bondi and Rose 2003; Nagar 1998; Nast 1998). This in turn has significant consequences whenthinking about the urban nightscape. Mobility and access to public space in the urban domain is particularly important in terms ofcall center employment because it requires physical mobility in terms of transportation to and fromwork and temporal mobility in the form of working at night to coincide with the office hours of U.S.-based customers. For a woman to be out and about in the middle of the night is generally consideredimproper and unsafe. However, women are participating in this industry, and corporate strategies,such as the use of private shuttle vans to transport women to and from work in the middle of thenight, reflect the ways in which both the industry and its female employees negotiate a presence inurban, public spaces. In light of these dynamics, my project will address the following researchquestions: 1) How does the global demand for night shift workers re-codify women‘s physical andtemporal mobility?; 2) What spatial and temporal barriers, as well as opportunities, do women faceboth in the household and urban public space?; and 3) How does call center employment translateinto social and economic mobility or immobility?
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued) The emergence of an IT revolution (Castells 2000; Greenspan 2004), in combination withdisparities such as gender inequity and the digital divide, expands the range of feminist geography toareas such as global technology and development. Currently, extensive research on women‘sparticipation, or lack thereof, in the IT sector is available (Fountain 2000; Hafkin and Taggart 2001;Kelkar, Shrestha, and Nagarjan 2002; Patel and Parmentier 2005; Poster 1988; Webster 1996).However, despite the globalizing aspects of transnational call center operations – as demonstrated bya Delta Airlines customer in Chicago talking to a Delta travel agent in India about flight reservationsto London – there is little attention given to its impact on geographical concerns in relation to genderissues.Background Since the late 1990‘s, advances in telecommunications technology combined with theglobalization of IT services have directly contributed to the growth of transnational call centeroperations. Fortune 500 companies, from IBM to American Express, have become reliant ontransnational call centers and over the past five years various data processing functions such asinputting medical transcripts and credit card applications/billing have transferred to India (Economist2004; Patel 2002; Stitt 2002).Companies are moving call center operations to India because itprovides a cheap, English speaking labor force. For instance, the starting salary for a full-time callcenter employee at TYJ Corp1., a top-ten call center in India, is 10,000 rupees per month(approximately 225USD). The global processes that fuel the emergence of this industry are embedded in nationalpolicies of both India and the United States. The restructuring of U.S. immigration policy in terms ofreducing the number of H1-B visas, along with the economic downturn of the United States ITsector, serve as an impetus for companies to offshore what were previously U.S.-based positions(Rudrappa 2005). Essentially, because the Indian worker cannot migrate to the U.S., the workmigrates to India. The tightening U.S. economy has led companies to offshore not only high wageengineering positions, but also low-wage call center positions. In this instance, the protectionistpolicy of limiting immigration in order to bring economic security to the American worker hascreated the opposite effect, as more and more jobs are transferred overseas. However, this trendshould not be exaggerated because Pandit (2005) finds that the actual number of U.S. jobs that havemoved overseas thus far is not significant. Simultaneously, the emergence of transnational call centers in India is contingent on anational policy that welcomes the presence of multi-national corporations (MNC‘s). Historically, thiswas not the case. After independence, India went from being dubbed the ―British Raj‖ to the ―PermitRaj‖ (Greenspan 2004). India was considered an impenetrable market because of its unendingbureaucracy, notorious corruption, and protectionist policies that sought to shield India from theoutside economy. This dramatically shifted in 1991 when the government, under Minister Rao,removed import licensing requirements and sought to undo more than four decades worth ofbureaucracy under the Permit Raj. As of 2002, a decade after the pivotal 1991 reforms, the NationalAssociation of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) estimates that 336 call centers have
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)emerged throughout India and as of 2005, approximately 348,000 women and men are working inthis industry (NASSCOM 2002; NASSCOM 2005). Currently, call center operations locate primarily in Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore,and Hyderabad. These major cities actively compete against one another in order to attract companies(Patel 2002). In addition, call centers have recently begun to emerge in tier two cities such asAhmedabad and Jaipur. Call centers expand to tier two cities because human resources in majorcities are exhausted and the wages in tier two cities are lower. The emergence of call centers in tiertwo cities represents a new and important contrast to the current migration of skilled workers tomajor cities such as Mumbai. In this instance, instead of workers migrating to Mumbai for call centeremployment, the work is now migrating to workers in tier two cities throughout India. In regards to the gendered aspects of this industry, Kelkar et. al (2002) explain that callcenters in India prefer hiring young, educated women because they are viewed to be more loyal andcompliant in comparison to their male counterparts. Yet the majority of executive positions are heldby men, suggesting the existence of occupational segregation. Singh and Pandey (2005) argue thatwomen often plateau at mid-level positions while men tend to progress further. This disparity islinked to men‘s lack of participation, and responsibility, in household labor and childcare. One gets a glimpse of such segregation in an India Today article (Chengappa and Goyal2002). The cover story, labeled ―Housekeepers to the World,‖ focused on call centers in India. Interms of visual presentation, the image on the front cover, along with photo-ops of customer serviceworkers were primarily young women. Yet photo-ops involving high level positions, such asChairman or President, were represented by older men. Within this article, it was the men who werepresented as leaders of the industry and experts in terms of discussing future growth and challengessurrounding its development. In contrast, the women interviewed were mostly entry-level workers.The one exception to this was a female vice-president. However, she worked for a company thattrains women on how to be effective customer service representatives, and so she was not in a directposition of power in terms of owning a call center or serving as an agent for influencing policysurrounding the development of this industry. The reader gets the sense that women are seen andheard by distant customers, but are rarely participants in corporate decision-making. Mirchandani‘s (2004) and Poster‘s (2004) research on call centers suggests a possible shift inthe gendered aspects of call center employment. In the United States women are the majority of callcenter employees and this industry is considered to be a ―pink collar‖ field (Bonds n.d.). In contrast,Poster‘s and Mirchandani‘s study of call centers in New Delhi found that 50% - 70% of theemployees are men. This coincides with a call center I visited in Mumbai in which 60% of theemployees are also men. Such initial findings contradict the media representation of call center employment in Indiaas being primarily held by women (Chengappa and Goyal 2002). Unlike maquiladora labor, such asgarment production, which was predominantly female in the United States and remained the sameupon transfer to countries such as Mexico, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, it is unclear if call centeremployment will follow a similar path. The idea of a modern-day labor force that goes from female
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)to male is rare in comparison to the integration of women into historically male-dominated positionssuch as clerical work (Boyer 1998; Elias and Carney 2005) and pharmacy (Ehrenreich andHochschild 2003; Tanner and Cockerill 1996). Focusing on women‘s mobility in the urbannightscape provides an understanding of whether spatial and structural barriers impact women‘semployment opportunities in the call center industry. In summary, the emergence of transnational call centers is based upon a complex set of localand global dynamics, as demonstrated by its dependency on national policy as well as its intersectionwith gendered notions of a woman‘s place in the urban nightscape. Although considerable attentionis given to this industry by the mainstream media, the focus is primarily on corporations movingback-office work overseas (Delaney 2003; Economist 2004) and the subsequent loss of U.S. jobs(Nichols 2004). By investigating how community norms of mobility and spatial access intersect withthe night shift requirement of transnational call centers; my research contributes to newunderstandings of women in space.Disciplinary SignificanceGlobalization Discourse Globalization is the subject of criticism and debate both within geography and otherdisciplines. Discussion abounds as to whether or not globalization is leading to culturalhomogenization (Appadurai 1996; Cox 1997; Jackson 2003; 2004) or reducing the power of thenation-state (Agnew 2005; Castells 2000; Mitchell, Marston, and Katz 2003; Sassen 1998; 2000;2005; Scott 1998). Geographers focus primarily on the political economy of globalization (Rankin2003a). Traditionally, the focus is on how macro/global processes conflict with and/or impact localcommunities (Cox 1997; Harvey 2000; Herod 1997; 2001; Jackson 2004). Although the literature isvast, this project draws from globalization discourse as it relates to the spatiotemporal landscape andgender.The Spatiotemporal Landscape Harvey (1989) coined the term ―time-space compression‖ to explain the increased mobilityand internationalization of capital in the early 1970s. In recent years, there has been an emergence ofliterature focusing on the impact of globalization on time and space (Adam 2002; Katz 2004; Sassen1998; 2000; 2004; Scott 1998; Sheppard 2002; 2004). Sassen (2000) argues that globalization leadsto the creation of new spatialities and temporalities in which ―economic globalization itself canalready be seen to contain dynamics of both mobility and fixity‖ (Sassen 2000,217). For instance, themobility afforded to MNC‘s seeking to offshore their customer service labor force is contingent onfixed structures at the national level, such as material and technological infrastructure, as well asnational policies that promote, rather than hinder, the expansion of the global economy. Such overlapand interaction between the global and national, in combination with advances intelecommunications technology, reshapes the spatiotemporal landscape of globalization. A local U.S. workforce gone global now operates on a 24-hour timeframe that shifts the workspace and work time of customer service employees worldwide. Twenty five years ago who wouldhave expected that on any given afternoon an American residing in Texas would dial a 1-800 number
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)that is instantly re-routed to the suburb of a major Indian city, and at 3a.m. India time, an employeewith a ―neutral‖ accent would answer ―Good Afternoon. American Express, this is Julie speaking‖?Adam would label this dynamic a ―colonization of time‖ whereby the western clock iscommoditized, set as the standard, and exported throughout the world (Adam 2002,21). Thistransformation of time into a global resource is reorganizing an employee‘s identity, neutralizingaccents, and temporally adjusting the normative nine-to-five work schedule. Indeed, the night shiftlabor force represents a new level of social and spatial interaction between industrialized anddeveloping nations.Gender and Globalization Geographers investigate the globalization process from the perspective of how the productionof local and global space is not only relational, but also constructed upon social, political, andeconomic interactions that remain inherently gendered (Elias and Carney 2005; McDowell et al.2005; Nagar et al. 2002; Pratt 2004). From the household to the global economy, Haraway‘s (1988)concept of situated knowledge offers a new way of thinking about globalization. Situated knowledgerejects notions of detached neutrality and the quest for universal findings (Cope 2002). In fact,Haraway (1991) argues that the idea of detached neutrality is an attempt by modern science toperform a ―god-trick‖ by viewing itself as a disembodied Other that can produce objective findings. This veil of neutrality is problematic because it conceals the complexities of research.Haraway also uses the concept of vision to explain that subjects which are deemed feminine are notgiven sight (Holloway 2004). They are viewed primarily through a lens of being observed, described,or conquered. Essentially, they become outsiders explained away by a so-called objective, detached,scientific gaze. Gibson-Graham (1996) offers an interesting perspective on re-envisioningglobalization through the lens of gender. By critiquing the ‗penetration of capital‘ script that framesworkers as rape victims who are powerless to the dominant forces of MNC‘s, they argue that weneed to explore ways of ―making globalization lose its erection‖ (Gibson-Graham 1996,146). Suchanalysis reflects Haraway‘s (1988) quest for partial perspective because it re-situates globalization ina context-specific framework of feminist theory. Oza (2001) looks at the 1996 Miss World Beauty Pageant in Bangalore from the perspectiveof how various scales, such as the gendered body, national politics, and globalization, interact withand inform each other. She contends that the nation is represented as enclosed and feminine whileglobalization is constructed as masculine and free floating. By linking gender to the nation, differentgroups in India formulated a critique for or against globalization. Opponents, for instance,constructed the nation as a symbol of desexualized motherhood that must be protected from thepolluting forces of globalization (i.e. a world pageant). In this case, resistance to globalization isrepresents a re-inscription of control and suppression of women‘s sexuality. Proponents in Oza‘s study argued that the pageant demonstrated to the world that India is anadvanced, liberal nation. Yet even within this framework, the pageant used raising funds forchildren‘s causes as a means to detract opponents. By linking contestants to motherhood, women‘ssexuality is performed within acceptable boundaries. Oza states ―women‘s bodies and sexualities
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)became the material and discursive sites where nation was performed, values were contested, andborder and boundaries were policed and controlled‖ (Oza 2001,1068-1069). Oza‘s research providesinsight into the ways in which women, traversing the urban nightscape as call center employees, maybecome the bodily site upon which arguments for or against globalization are framed.Feminist Geography Social change, or lack thereof, is reflected in the mobility and spatial access afforded towomen (Boyer 2005; Hapke and Ayyankeril 2004; Kantor 2002; Law 2002; Mandel 2004; Rankin2003b; Silvey 2005; Yeoh and Huang 1998). The built environment not only reflects status andpower, but can also serve to reinforce existing gender divisions (Law 1999; Massey 1994; McDowell1999). In turn, feminist geographers are actively engaged in deconstructing essentialist notions of―woman‖ by articulating how gender is socially constructed in space and place at multiple scales Byexamining space through a lens of ―difference‖, feminist geography also provides an understandingof how representation is a ―…mediator and medium through with identities and spaces are(re)produced‖ (Oberhauser et al. 2003,746).In the House Historically speaking, Domosh (1998a) explains that geographers, in general, ―did not movepast the front stoop‖ (1998a,275). Yet, the construction of gender relations within the householdprovides a powerful understanding of how the spatial and temporal landscape of both public andprivate space remains gendered (Marston 2000). Instead of viewing the household as what Brennerterms ―relatively stable background structures‖ (Marston and Smith 2001,618), feminist geographersargue that the household is a complex site where material practices are made and remade. Chant(1998), in particular, defines the household as a ―geographically and historically dynamic socialinstitution in which gender is embedded and negotiated‖ (5). Night shift employment provides a new context for gender relations in the household becauseit represents a shift in the temporal landscape of women‘s economic opportunities and therebyintersects with the ―second shift,‖ namely management of the household. Rankin‘s (2003b) researchon gender and socio-spatial change in Nepal finds that access to credit and income does notnecessarily contribute to gender equity in the household. And night shift employment may serve tomerely shift domestic responsibilities to other women within the household or, as illustrated by theresearch of Pratt (2004), Yeoh and Huang (1998), and Tyner (1999), lead to an increased demand formaids and servants, often from foreign countries.Women on the Move Regardless of the actual travel distance, changes in mobility represent a renegotiation ofprescribed gender roles (Domosh and Seager 2001; McDowell 1999). As MNC‘s redistribute laboron a global scale, feminist geographers are interested in how the global hyper-mobility of MNC‘sreshapes the mobility and spatial access of its workers, particularly in relation to categories such asgender and class. Similar to Boserup‘s (1970) argument that economic development can furthermarginalize women, Massey‘s (1994) seminal research on gender, space, and place finds that ―the
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)mobility and control of some groups can actively weaken other people‖ (150). AlthoughHägerstand‘s (1975) work is not within a framework of feminist geography he also clearly explainsthat ―one individuals use of his freedom influences what other individuals are able to do with theirs‖(Hägerstand 1975,5). Massey‘s assertion is reflected in Cravey‘s (1998; 2005) comparative research in Nogales, aMexican maquila border town, and Cuidad Madero, an interior town that emerged from a previousstate-led industrialization model of import substitution. Her findings indicate that as paidemployment becomes more connected to the global economy, the social geographies of women‘slivelihoods become increasingly privatized and individualistic (Cravey 2005,119). Access to socialservices (daycare and medical insurance) that were considered a social right in Cuidad Maderobecame a social privilege in Nogales under the maquila framework. Ong‘s (1987) research on transnational electronic factories in Malaysia uncovers how factorywork re-shapes women‘s physical, social and economic mobility. A key finding in her ethnography isthe assertion that transnational corporations are operate within a hierarchy of domination andsubordination that not only controls a worker‘s body, but also the ways in which young femaleemployees view themselves. Both studies provide an understanding of how the hyper-mobility ofMNC‘s reshapes the livelihood of its female-dominated workforce.Body Politics From being marked as a site of reproduction to a source of provocation, feminists are on theforefront of critiquing the social and biological construction of women‘s bodies (Bordo 1993; Faludi1991; McDowell 1999; Wilson 1992). Haraway (1988) argues that conceptualizing sex under theguise of biological determinism threatens the space of emerging work in critical social theory. Usingfigures such as the cyborg and trickster, Haraway (1991) refutes the dualistic notion of science versusnature/culture and urges us to re-envision how categories of unitary identity, such as global ‗woman‘,―are made and remade within a shifting network of determinants and desires‖ (Jacobs and Nash2003,266). By the mid-1990s, feminist geographers argued that the body, as scale of analysis, provides apowerful understanding of how space and place are constructed on categories such as gender, race,and class (Longhurst 1995; McDowell 1999; Moss 2002; Silvey 2005). Wright‘s (1997a; 1997b)work is compelling in this area. Within a framework of gender, social geography, and global powerrelations, she examines how Mexican women‘s bodies are marked as docile, submissive, andtradition-bound in the maquiladora. By linking this perceived embodiment to the regulation andcontrol of women‘s bodies, she uncovers how gender inequality is spatialized in the maquiladora. The embodiment discourse is linked to Butler‘s (1993) argument that gender is an act ofperformativity. By ‗performing‘ gender, Butler suggests that notions of womanhood are inscribed onthe body and marked as a biological site of difference. Drawing from Butler‘s work, feministgeographers provide new insight into the relationship between women‘s bodies and space at multiplescales. Secor (2003), for instance, examines how ―regimes of veiling‖ (2003,5) in Istanbul allow
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)women to detract the male gaze, but at the same time reinforce the notion that women‘s bodies are asource of provocation that must be controlled and concealed in urban public space.Conceptual Approach By examining globalization in conjunction with feminist geography, what emerges is acritical understanding of the interplay between space, gender, and identity. My investigation oftransnational call center employment is based on a framework of social and economic embodiment,spatial access, and a concept I‘ve termed temporal entrapment. Although the physical location of acall center remains fixed, the meaning embedded in the urban space it occupies shifts depending onthe time of day. In addition, the meaning that is embodied in dayshift versus night shift employment intersectswith the social construction of gender and class. In contrast to their male counterparts, the presenceof women in India‘s urban nightscape is often linked to prostitution and questionable moral values.Ashini, a 23 year old employee, explains that her father‘s response to call center employment was:―call center job equals call girl job.‖ Ashini‘s co-worker Kavita goes on to argue that family concernfor young women working the night shift is less about physical safety and more about how awoman‘s presence in the urban nightscape will negatively impact a family‘s reputation. ―What willpeople think?‖ is a common response women received from family members expressing hesitancyabout night shift employment. Such remarks can be linked to notions of middle-class morality, whichmark women‘s bodies as the site of family honor. In this instance, changes in women‘s temporalmobility are viewed as potentially having a negative impact on the social status of both the workerand her family. In regards to spatial issues, shuttle transport at TYJ Corp. consists of vehicles carrying 6-8employees and can take up to two hours each way, depending on where the employee resides. If allthe employees are female, then, in addition to the driver, a security guard is on board. If one of theemployees is a male, then a security guard is not required. However, the male employee is always thelast one dropped off. This measure is necessary due to reports of the Mumbai police stopping thevans and accusing the female passengers of prostitution. Employees carry identity cards as proof ofemployment, but it is not considered enough by police. In order for a woman to justify her existencein the urban nightscape she requires the presence of a male counterpart. Although traversing thenightscape may represent new levels of spatial access for women, it is based on a continuum ofprotection and surveillance of women‘s bodies. Temporal entrapment is conceived of from two dynamics. First, night shift labor may serveas a time-trap that marginalizes women. By working the night shift, and inevitably sleeping thru theday, it is possible that women become further excluded from social and economic opportunitieswithin the larger community. Shubhika and Sonia complain that since taking a call center job theirsocial life has diminished because they have lost touch with close friends and hardly have time fortheir families. Second, working the night shift for a call center, albeit a position that is viewed assecondary and having limited prospects for upward mobility (Kelkar, Shrestha, and Nagarjan 2002),
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)may create new opportunities and spaces for women upon which they re-invent their identity in theformal economy and within their households. Instead of constraining her social life, Drasti explainsthat call center employment allows her to befriend people from various walks of life that sheotherwise would not have access to. And perhaps shifting the dynamic of arranged marriage, Naziaexclaims ―the call center becomes our marriage pool!‖ during an interview about how call centeremployment has impacted her family and social life. Linking women‘s employment to embodiment, spatial access, and temporal entrapmentprovides a context for, and an understanding of how, night shift labor practices are reshaping thelives of transnational call center employees. Furthermore, the conceptual framework I propose to useallows me to examine how spatial practices, such as the journey to work, not only operate as asingular quantified event (i.e. two hours each way on a shuttle bus), but also how night shiftemployment reshapes the social construction of gender in a variety of spaces.Research Site: Description and Justification Dissertation fieldwork will take place in Mumbai, India. Mumbai is the financial center of theIndian economy and serves as the largest income tax base for the country. Call centers are primarilylocated in two outlying areas of Mumbai, Powai and Navi Mumbai, because of the exorbitant realestate prices in the central business district. Powai is the epicenter of call center operations and ishome to Wipro-Spectramind, Indias largest call center. Located over 30 miles away from Mumbaiproper, Navi Mumbai is 212.3 square miles and is India‘s largest urban planning project to date(Shaw 2004). Development of Navi Mumbai began in 1971 with the goal of creating 14 towns thatwill hold a population of approximately two million people. It was conceived of as a satellite town toslow down the expansion of downtown Mumbai and to serve as a counter-magnet to draw newincoming migrants and re-settle some of its current population (Shaw 2004, 4).Arguably, as call center operations emerge throughout India, the question becomes why focus onMumbai versus Bangalore, Chennai, or Hyderabad. When asked ―Why setup in Mumbai versusBangalore?‖ Sharon, a call center executive, contends that Bangalore is the IT hub, but notnecessarily the call center hub. The presence of an educated, English-speaking population and thespace available to build call centers in the outlying areas of Mumbai are the key magnets drawingcompanies to this area. Mumbai is also viewed as more cosmopolitan and professional, and is aheadof Delhi in terms of fiber-optic connectivity and its electricity infrastructure (Patel 2002). At thesame time, during pre-dissertation research I discovered that some families are hesitant about womenworking for a call center in Mumbai because, unlike Bangalore, Mumbai is viewed as a city of ill-repute, danger, and sin. In this context, focusing on Mumbai provides a complementaryunderstanding of how the local conception of a cityscape intersects with the global demand for anight shift labor force.
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)Research Methods and Timeline An inductive, qualitative research methodology based on participant observation, in-depthinterviews, and surveys are used to gather data for this project. The methodology I use draws fromthe grounded theory approach by Strauss and Corbin (1990; 1997). Unlike hypothesis testing whichcompares findings to predetermined set of outcomes, grounded theory is an inductive approach inwhich new findings emerge from an ongoing interplay between collecting and analyzing data.(Cresswell 1998; Russell 2002). This methodology is well suited for research that: 1) examines themeaning and context of a phenomenon; 2) focuses on the processes that lead to an event or action; 3)seeks to identify unanticipated influences; and 4) seeks to uncover causal relationships (Maxwell1998,75). My research will be carried out in the three stages discussed below.Stage One (January 2006 to April 2006) - Completed During the first four months of fieldwork, I networked with existing contacts to pre-testinterview questions and to obtain entry into call centers. Entry into call centers is particularlydifficult because the companies have strict contractual agreements with their U.S. and U.K. clientsthat forbid access to outsiders. However, I obtained entry into KMA Corporation and conductedsemi-structured interviews with 20 employees. In addition, I conducted participant observation ofKMA‘s anniversary celebration with approximately 350 employees. Thereafter, I attended the Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research (PUKAR)Gender and Space Conference. Founded by Arjun Appadurai in 2001, PUKAR created the Genderand Space Project to investigate how the cityscape of Mumbai is gendered in ways that regulatewomen‘s mobility in public space (PUKAR n.d.). I also interviewed Anand Dalmia, an outsourcingexpert and contributor to Avendus, a Business Process Outsourcing newsletter. Both PUKAR andDalmia provided an understanding of the emergence of transnational call centers as well as women‘saccess to the spaces they occupy.Stage Two (May 2006 to October 2006) – In Progress During this six month timeframe the focus is primarily on conducting structured and semi-structured interviews with employees and participant observation in call centers. Participantobservation allows me to evaluate the physical and temporal mobility of women as well as obtainresearch participants. In-depth interviews are conducted outside the call center so as to alleviateconcerns or apprehension that findings from my interviews will be divulged to the employingorganization. I will interview approximately 50 female call center employees and will seek a range ofemployees from married versus single, living at home versus living in a hostel or company dorm, andnewly hired employees versus long term employees (one year or longer). A snowball samplingtechnique is used to identify individuals to interview. This technique is based upon askinginterviewees to identify other potential research participants (Cresswell 1998; Russell 2002).
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued) Although this method is not a random sample, it allows me to gain in-depth knowledge of theexperiences of call center employees. Interviews will also be conducted with approximately 20-25family members of call center employees and 10-15 managers, trainers, former employees, andgovernment officials who are involved in IT policy. This sample will provide a differentunderstanding of how various actors inform and impact the experiences of female night shiftworkers. In total, approximately 85-90 interviews will serve as the foundation for this study. As of August 2006, 43 interviews consisting of employees, managers, and family members,were conducted, 180 surveys were collected, and participant observation was conducted in two callcenters and various locales, such as malls, cafes, and bars, that employee‘s frequent. In addition,newspaper and television accounts relating to women‘s participation in the call center industry arebeing collected in order to assess how night shift employment is portrayed in the media andcommunity reaction to this relatively new industry. The interviews I seek to conduct, in combinationwith participant observation and media accounts of the industry, will serve as the foundation foruncovering the spatial livelihoods of call center employees.Stage Three (November 2006 to March 2007) In addition to wrapping up interviews in Mumbai, the NSF DDRI will allow me to expandthe scope of my study to include interviews with employees, managers, and family members inChennai and tier two cities. Chennai is a rapidly expanding call center hub. Although Mumbai andChennai are both major cities in India, Mumbai is considered a ―fast,‖ progressive city, whereasChennai is far more conservative, particularly in terms of gender relations. Investigating night shiftemployment in Chennai, as a contrast to Mumbai, will provide an understanding of the role spaceand place has in reshaping women‘s mobility. The tier two cities for this project are Jaipur and Ahmadabad. They were selected becauseMumbai call centers are currently recruiting employees from both these cities. By investigating nightshift employment in Mumbai and tier two cities, my project will uncover the similarities anddifferences in the social, spatial, and economic mobility experienced by women who migrate toMumbai for call center employment versus those who remain in tier two cities to pursue call centeremployment. Contacts have been secured and permission is granted to visit call centers in bothChennai and Ahmadabad. Currently, I am currently working to secure permissions in Jaipur.Research Protocol and Analysis The interviews I conduct with call center employees serve as the foundation for this project.Some interviews will be quite short and focus on gathering factual data, others may focus onparticular topics. For all interviews, the goal is to record some of the basic information under thefollowing categories: 1) physical and temporal mobility; 2) household and community response towomen working in call centers; 3) social and economic spaces. Following are some of the questions Idraw from in my interview instrument:
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued)Physical and temporal mobility Describe your journey to work and home everyday. What challenges do you face? How does changing your work shift impact your daily routine? How often did you go out at night prior to working for a call center? What have been your experiences in terms of going out at night? Have you experienced harassment when you‘ve been out? Day or night? Explain. Describe the protective measures taken by yourself or your company to ensure your safety Does call center employment give you access to areas of the city that before were unavailable to you? Describe. Define places that you can now go to that were limited before? Or the degree to which you travel un-escorted regularly. Describe the positive experiences you‘ve had since you began working for a call centerHousehold and community response to women working in call centers What did your family think about you working for a call center? Has their opinion changed? How has working the night shift impacted your relationship with your family and friends? From your experience, what perceptions do people have about women working in call centers? Where do such perceptions come from? How are women who work at night perceived in your neighborhood? How are call center employees portrayed by the media? What is your opinion of their portrayal?Social and Economic Mobility How does working for a call center impact your spending habits? How has this job changed your day-to-day expenses? Where do you hang out when you are not working? What opportunities does this job provide you with that you didn‘t have before?
    • NSF-DDRI Proposal (Continued) In general, if the respondent is willing to talk about a subject, they will be encouraged to doso for as long as they like (through verbal and non-verbal cues) and I will provide follow-upquestions when necessary. In all cases, I inform participants that their identity will remainconfidential. IRB has waived the informed written consent requirement and pseudonyms are used onpaper and digital records to protect the identity of the participants. Data is stored on a passwordprotected laptop. In the event that the laptop breaks or is stolen, data is also maintained on DigitalData Storage, an online backup server. Interviews are taped when permission is granted by the interviewees. Subsequently, tapeswill be transcribed and a narrative analysis based on coding and categorizing interviewee responsesonto a matrix will be performed (Rubin and Rubin 1995; Strauss and Corbin 1990). This narrativeanalysis will be compared to findings from participant observation as well as newspaper andtelevision accounts relating to women‘s participation in the call center industry. The NUD*IST, aqualitative data analysis software program, will be utilized for automated coding, text search andretrieval, and pattern discernment.Conclusion Call center employment provides women with relatively high paying jobs that werepreviously unavailable. Yet it is unclear whether working the night shift work will impede orenhance women‘s mobility and spatial access. On the surface, call centers represent a marked shift inwomen‘s access to employment in the paid labor force. At the same time, initial findings suggest thatthe emergence of this industry is not shifting patriarchal relations of power in a significant way dueto social and spatial constraints on women‘s mobility in the urban nightscape. The result of my research will be a dissertation that I plan to defend in May, 2008 and willeventually seek to publish into a book. Findings will be presented at the December, 2006 Women inTechnology conference held in India and the April, 2007 Association of American Geographersconference. I will also use this research to pursue a career in the area of science and technologypolicy. Over the long-term my goal is to advise both governmental and corporate entities on gender-based linkages in technology, a critical issue as manufacturing expands in traditional societies.
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