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|Title:||Paternalism and the paradox of work-life balance: Discourse and practice|
|Keywords:||Global capitalism;Paternalism;Work-life balance;Call centres|
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis|
|Citation:||Community Work and Family, 18, (4), 2016|
|Abstract:||Drawing on Lewis et al’s (2007) critical treatment of ‘work-life balance’ (WLB) as a western, neo-liberal discourse with problematic assumptions of gender and culture neutrality; this study examines the ways in which WLB discourse(s) are translated and adopted within transnational call centres in India. Discursive understandings suggest that work-life balance negotiations are filtered through two dominant discourses: neo-liberalism/individualism and collectivism-paternalism. The contradictions between these discourses are explored using Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 2003) by examining qualitative interviews with 50 call centres in South India. Findings reveal that work-life balance terminology and discourses were used to describe a form of ‘global modernity’, an extension of professionalism and neoliberal working practices. On the shop floor however, organizational cultures were heavily paternalistic and the workplace was viewed as an extended family whose role was to nurture, care for, and protect workers. The westernized work-life discourse was described as an idealized norm for tidy, segmented lives, while the ‘messy’ reality of living of family and community life and blurring of boundaries could not be accounted for within this discourse. These study findings confirm the central message of Suzan Lewis’s contribution to work-life research: context matters.|
|Appears in Collections:||Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers|
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