New Book

‘Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres’ by Jamie Woodcock

13th Jan 2017


Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres

By Jamie Woodcock

Available here:


‘A sharp reminder of the difficulties faced by call-centre workers’ – Financial Times

‘Shows us what call centres can tell us about bleakness and resistance in the modern workplace’ – VICE

‘Jamie Woodcock’s brilliant insider account of life in a British call-centre reveals the dirty realities of digital capitalism … a book that is sure to become a classic.’ – Peter Fleming, author of The Mythology of Work

‘In this urgent and incisive study, Woodcock identifies the imposing challenges to organising against exploitation in conditions of atomised precarity, while also giving us precious glimpses of what a counter-offensive against capital might look like. A masterful lesson in how sociology can serve both to interpret and change a world of labour under the pall of austerity’ – Alberto Toscano, Reader in Critical Theory, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London


About the book:


Over a million people in the UK work in call centres, and the phrase has become synonymous with low-paid and high stress work, dictatorial supervisors and an enforced dearth of union organisation. However, rarely does the public have access to the true picture of what goes on in these institutions.


For Working the Phones, Jamie Woodcock worked undercover in a call centre to gather insights into the everyday experiences of call centre workers. He shows how this work has become emblematic of the shift towards a post-industrial service economy, and all the issues that this produces, such as the destruction of a unionised work force, isolation and alienation, loss of agency and, ominously, the proliferation of surveillance and control which affects mental and physical wellbeing of the workers.


By applying a sophisticated, radical analysis to a thoroughly international 21st century phenomenon, Working The Phones presents a window onto the methods of resistance that are developing on our office floors, and considers whether there is any hope left for the modern worker today.




Read a chapter from the book:




Jamie Woodcock completed his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is currently a fellow at LSE. His research interests include: digital labour, technology, management, critical theory, and the sociology of work.




PAPERBACK: NOVEMBER 2016 / 208 PAGES / ISBN 9780745399065 / £17.99 / $30 / €25






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