The gleaming towers and manicured campuses of India’s booming IT economy afford pleasure, work, and convenience to India’s middle classes. Yet, this economy is also made possible by a raft of service workers and informal laborers who drive the cars, clean the buildings, and cook, serve, and clean up in the canteens (cafeteria food) of office parks. My recent work asks, how are these worlds of IT work are related? Service workers are a necessary, though unrecognized, population in these economies that allow Indian and foreign-owned companies to cut costs for software and call center work. Call centers, for instance, rely on the scofflaw practices of men who drive to get call center workers—both women and men—to work on time and in the middle of the night. Over the last five years, the drivers of call center cars have come under increasing control and scrutiny because of several cases of rape and murder of female passengers. I read together the violence of men against women in motor vehicles and the hidden economies of IT service labor. I argue that violence in cars encapsulates the social contradictions of access to pleasure and upward mobility that differently positions lower caste and class men and women in urban India today. For further reading, see my article: “Moving Rape: Trafficking in the Violence of Postliberalization” Public Culture 27(2).
A Call Center Car
A Gleaming Office Building in a Software Park with Programmers on Break Enjoying the View
Office Workers and Drivers Mingling at a Roadside Tea Stand
The Construction Workers who Build the Office Parks Passing Through
The Middle Class Convenience of a New Air Conditioned Supermarket
The Contemporary Architecture of Software Technology Parks