[iDC] Introduction

Winifred Poster wrposter at gmail.com
Mon Sep 15 02:25:46 UTC 2014

My name is Winnie Poster, I teach at Washington University in St. Louis, and I’m one of Trebor’s helpers on the Advisory Board for the conference.  It’s been so wonderful to see all the introductions and read about your research!  We’re so excited to meet you in person.

To introduce myself, I have interests in feminist labor theory, digital globalization, and Indian outsourcing.  I’ve been following high-tech firms from the US to India for the past two decades, both in earlier waves of computer manufacturing and software, and more recent waves of back-office work and call centers.  My focus is on the intersection of post-colonial computing with the political economy of service labor.  I’m curious how information communication technologies are changing the meaning of work, dispersing it transnationally, incorporating new types of workers, and reshaping identities. 

Pieces of my research are available at www.winifredposter.com.  On Indian call centers, I explore trends of “national identity management” (in which Indian employees pose as Americans on the phone), and “reversed work time” (in which Indians shift their schedules to the night to accommodate American daylight).  Several papers examine affect in the global economy, such as the use of emotion by Indian workers to sell credit and debt to US customers, and new managerial technologies of emotion detection.  Recent projects are focusing on “multi-surveillances” within the service economy; women’s roles in the nascent field of cybersecurity (from transit screeners and cyber-spies); and the automation of virtual receptionists. 

For the conference, my presentation will be about the 2007 IBM strike on Second Life.  Hailed by some as the first “virtual strike”, it involved 2,000 worker-avatars from 30 countries.  I’ll discuss what this means for embodied online protest and participation by workers transnationally.

See you at Digital Labor 2014!


Dr. Winifred R. Poster
Washington University, St. Louis
Campus Box 1085
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
wposter at wustl.edu
(backup: wrposter at gmail.com)

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