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Call Centre Operators and Knowledge Economy. An Empirical Study of Career Paths in Two Companies in South Italy

TitleCall Centre Operators and Knowledge Economy. An Empirical Study of Career Paths in Two Companies in South Italy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsAntonazzo L, Vignola M
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published10/2016
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordscall centres, cognitive capitalism, knowledge workers, post-Fordism

The aim of this essay is to explore how the transition to knowledge economy and to a cognitive capitalist regime has pushed further the issues related to professional and existential uncertainty and has given rise to modern forms of insecurity and alienation. The connection between education and social condition appears to be, in contrast with the EU proclaims, looser than ever and the investment in skills appears often to be, for “weak” graduates, a professional and economic failure. In such a scenario, call centres embody the most widespread example of a cognitive capitalist company within a post-Fordist regime. They also represent the most common landing place for weak graduates. Through this survey we intend to put in evidence how economic contingency may lead weak graduates to fragmented professional paths, job dissatisfaction and modern forms of alienation that separate the worker not only from the product of his own work, but also from its cognitive and affective characteristics, and from his future perspectives.