Encoding Race, Encoding Class: Indian It Workers in Berlin

Sareeta Amrute (Author)


In Encoding Race, Encoding Class Sareeta Amrute explores the work and private lives of highly skilled Indian IT coders in Berlin to reveal the oft-obscured realities of the embodied, raced, and classed nature of cognitive labor. In addition to conducting fieldwork and interviews in IT offices as well as analyzing political cartoons, advertisements, and reports on white-collar work, Amrute spent time with a core of twenty programmers before, during, and after their shifts. She shows how they occupy a contradictory position, as they are racialized in Germany as temporary and migrant grunt workers, yet their middle-class aspirations reflect efforts to build a new, global, and economically dominant India. The ways they accept and resist the premises and conditions of their work offer new potentials for alternative visions of living and working in neoliberal economies. Demonstrating how these coders' cognitive labor realigns and reimagines race and class, Amrute conceptualizes personhood and migration within global capitalism in new ways.

Product Details

Price: $99.95
Publisher: Duke University Press
Published Date: August 12, 2016
Pages: 280
Dimensions: 6.2 X 0.8 X 9.2 inches | 1.2 pounds
Language: English
Type: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780822361176

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About the Author

Sareeta Amrute is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Washington.


"What stands out in her well-crafted and thoroughly researched ethnography is how various notions of Indianness ... permeate the transnational/Germany workplace and how it is interpreted, negotiated, and occasionally also appropriated. Drawing on a vast array of representations of Indian IT professionals in German media and elsewhere, Amrute's analysis ... provides insight on a changing world."-- (06/17/2017)
"A riveting ethnography of the personal and professional lives of short-term Indian IT workers in Berlin, Germany. . . . This book has a wide potential audience, and is essential reading for scholars interested in transnational migration and labour, neoliberal knowledge economies, as well as contemporary South Asia and its diasporas."-- (08/04/2017)
"The expressiveness of Amrute's prose allows what are admittedly complex ideas to become engaging and accessible. This, combined with the strength of her description and the evident timeliness of her subject matter, make Encoding Race, Encoding Class a remarkably flexible text for teaching. It is an ethnography that will work as well in an undergraduate class as a graduate seminar, since it has the clarity and rigor for both."-- (08/04/2017)
"A fascinating study that is both informative and narratively compelling. Situated in the era of digital globalization, this complex ethnographic project makes a major contribution to European anthropology and pushes forward the insights of critical race theory, international migration studies, and the sociocultural dimensions of science and technology."-- (09/01/2017)
"Extremely timely. . . . The book's theoretical grounding is convincing and compels the reader to grapple with the contradictions in the Indian IT worker's world. . . . Amrute expertly weaves race into her analyses."-- (11/14/2018)