Talk of changing gender roles at work may conjure up

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Unformatted text preview: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2000 d:/3socio/4-3/cameron.3d ± 29/6/0 ± 21:6 ± disk/mp 340 CAMERON most call centres), but the relentless rise of the service sector and the concurrent decline of manufacturing industry mean that increasingly, men are also ®nding employment in routine customer service positions. Talk of `changing gender roles at work' may conjure up the familiar icon of Rosie the Riveter, but in today's reality it is more likely to mean Charlie the checkout clerk and Kevin the call centre operator. Charlie and Kevin are subject to exactly the same communicational demands and linguistic styling practices as their female colleagues; it is of interest to ask how they negotiate the expectation that they will interact with customers in what is, covertly if not overtly, a `feminine' linguistic persona. The male call centre operators I interviewed in the course of my research in Britain did not consider their gender to be an issue. Where they were critical of the call centre regime, the main issue,...
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