Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations, Tables, Boxes

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pp. vii-viii

Acronyms

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pp. ix-xii

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Prologue: A Stranger's Adventure

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pp. xiii-xx

This book is a result of a research adventure by a Chinese-educated graduate student whose investigations focused on information-technology (IT) professionals migrating from India to Sydney, Australia, via a labor arrangement known (infamously) as body shopping. When I left China for the first time, in 1998, to pursue my doctorate at Oxford, I had no...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xxi-xxiv

Without the generous support from many individuals and organizations I would have not been able to complete this project and the book. Apart from my D.Phil. supervisor Dr. Frank Pieke, my co-supervisor, Dr. Steven Vertovec at Oxford, gave me valuable instruction on the research. Laurence J. C. Ma, Professor Emeritus of Geography of the University of...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

This ethnography is about embeddedness and disembeddedness—about how new human connections and disconnections are created and ultimately contribute to a process of abstraction in global capitalism today. Consider the following. Flying in the face of an industry projection of a labor shortage of 850,000 in the information-technology sector in the...

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Chapter 1: The Global Niche for Body Shopping

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pp. 13-23

The single most important catalyst defining the form of the body-shopping practice was the global demand for the “Y2K” programs. Primarily based on the largely obsolete IBM mainframe technology, the Y2K programs involved little innovative design, but their implantations were extremely labor and time intensive. Hence, it made more sense for companies to...

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Chapter 2: Producing "IT People" in Andhra

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pp. 24-38

Just after I landed in Hyderabad in June 2001, Gopal, a young IT worker, assured me that my field research could be completed within a month as I would easily identify and round up informants: “Anyone in the street who puts his shirt inside his trousers [in the Western style] is an IT professional.” Vinnie, who had first gone to Australia as a student and was...

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Chapter 3: Selling "Bodies" and Selling Jobs

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pp. 39-52

I first ran into Uday at Advance Technology Institute, a small IT consultancy cum training institute cum software outfit—a typical Indian body shop in Australia—located above a Chinese-run electronics shop and next to an Indian grocery, in the western Sydney suburb of Ashfield. Dark, well built, and wearing a baseball cap, Uday told me that “I have experienced...

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Chapter 4: Business of "Branded Labor" in Sydney

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pp. 53-69

At the time of my fieldwork in 2001, most body-shop operators in Sydney were those who migrated to Australia as permanent settlers between the 1980s and the early 1990s1 and had switched into the IT sector from other professions (particularly engineering). They had intended to set up businesses in software development and were pushed into body shopping after...

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Chapter 5: Agent Chains and Benching

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pp. 70-81

The fact that Indian IT consultancies moved to the body-shopping business due to the difficulties in marketing software products by no means implies that it was easy to establish direct connections with clients for body shopping. CSR Holding, owned by a Telugu couple—Chandary and his wife Shireesha, a psychologist by training—was one of most successful Indian...

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Chapter 6: Compliant Bodies?

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pp. 82-99

Benching and repeat placement raised two thorny issues for body-shop operators. First, how to prevent the workers whose visas they sponsored— their sources of profit—from running off upon finding themselves benched soon after arrival, an unpleasant experience for any migrant worker, more so for professionals who knew there was a market for their skills. Unlike...

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Chapter 7: The World System of Body Shopping

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pp. 100-109

Venugopal, a twenty-four-year-old Kamma Telugu who went to Australia sponsored by David in 1999, had a three-step career plan. In Australia, he would accumulate as many connections and as much work experience as he could. Hence, twice a week, instead of the home-packed lunch to save money (as most fellow Indians did), Venugopal made a point of...

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Ending Remarks The "Indian Triangle" in the Global IT Industry

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pp. 110-116

Information technology is widely regarded as a major cause of a series of fundamental social changes that we are going through, and is even expected to usher in an entirely new epoch in human history. Indeed, “IT revolution” is the only revolution that we can talk about today. This technology euphoria...

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Appendix Essay The Remembered Fieldwork Sites: Impressions and Images

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pp. 117-128

Since this book is constructed to delineate the dynamisms of a “system” spanning multiple countries, it does not contain much material to bring to the reader a flavor of the research sites and a sense of “being there” as most ethnographies do. For the same reason, my informants’ experiences are fragmented in different chapters to serve my thematically organized...

Biographical Index of Informants

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pp. 129-148

Notes

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pp. 149-166

References

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pp. 167-172

Index

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pp. 173-184