Since India's economic liberalization in the1980s, corporations in the U.S. and Europe have been outsourcing service and computer programming jobs to urban centers in India such as Hyderabad. In this period, numerous Indian national as well as international processes have gone into making Hyderabad a "global city," where information technology (IT) jobs in multinational corporations provide new kinds of cultural capital and prestige that are shaping global Indian middle class identities. In this dissertation, I critically analyze how global neoliberal discourses encounter established, local practices, changing the previous calculus of social relations as well as refashioning particular meanings of the "global." IT professionals have to adapt quickly to take advantage of opportunities in the new economy, while also conforming to social benchmarks of job security set by previous generations. IT professionals have found ways to "brand" themselves and their careers to find a more solid foothold in a transient, transnational job sector. The process of branding involves specific kinds of soft skill training, resume building, networking, and practices outside of the professional space to be recognized as a "quality IT professional." New urban spaces of consumption such as malls, theme parks, and consumer showrooms have become iconic sites of global consumerism that seek to cater to these global, IT professionals. The significance of these landscapes is dependent on everyday, repetitive actions and narratives about consumption that highlight the city's present international role. Consumer practices play a dual role, at once the site of claiming to be globally Indian and the site of accusatory assertions of the loss of Indian traditional culture and the incursion of Western frivolity. Instead of looking at "traditional" and "Western" as opposing influences, I investigate how these concepts are produced through consumer practices and narratives of consumption. Furthermore, processes of professionalization and consumerism are incorporated into a global, modern, Indian middle class and the politics of exclusion that they deploy; a politics that recognizes some as being in synch with global and national growth, and renders large sections of the population invisible or outside of the citizenry of the Indian nation.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2012. Major: Anthropology. Advisor: Gloria Goodwin Raheja. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 237 pages, appendices A-D.
Aaftaab, Naheed Gina.
Branding a global identity: labor anxieties, conspicuous consumption, and middle class culture in Hyderabad, India..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.