• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

It's good to talk is one of the great clich[ac]es of our time. The benefits of talk to individuals, families and organizations are proclaimed by pop psychologists, television talk show hosts, and management gurus. The importance of talk is talked about endlessly. Good to Talk? is an attempt to look critically at what lies behind this upsurge of concern about talk in our workplaces, classrooms and private lives, and it places these developments in historical context and relates their forms to the broader economic and social changes associated with globalization. The book also poses questions about the social and political implications of talking about talking. Is `communication' the key to solving the

Communication Factories: Inside the Call Centre
Communication factories: Inside the call centre

No sane business today would want a workforce of automatons: after all, anything an automaton can do, we can automate

– Fiona Czerniawska, Corporate Speak, 1998.

You should all know by now that we intend to introduce a standard telephone speech. …Every operator must use the speech, no exceptions!

– Internal Memorandum, Teleprocessing Centre, 1996.

On the fifth floor of a building in central London is a space that looks much like any other open-plan office. It also sounds like an office; as you approach you hear the soft click of computer keys and a faint hum of voices, muted by the carpet and the padded partitions dividing this space from an adjacent, more or less identical one. ...

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