Language Policy

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 5–25

Linguistic globalization and the call center industry: Imperialism, hegemony or cosmopolitanism?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10993-008-9112-9

Cite this article as:
Sonntag, S.K. Lang Policy (2009) 8: 5. doi:10.1007/s10993-008-9112-9


Linguistic imperialism, linguistic hegemony and linguistic cosmopolitanism are broad and contrasting conceptualizations of linguistic globalization that are frequently, if implicitly, invoked in the literature, both academic and non-academic, on language practices and perceptions in the call center industry. I begin with outlining each of these three conceptual frameworks and show how they inform analyses of the dynamics and relations between Indian call center agents and their American customers. I then switch the focus to the Canadian call center industry, which is both a near-shore site for American customers and offshores voice services to India. By examining the Canadian industry in terms of the three conceptual frameworks, we can begin to discern contrasts and similarities in global language practices and perceptions, leading to a refinement of our understanding of linguistic globalization. I conclude by recommending, from a social science research perspective, a linguistic hegemony framework for its rich analysis.


Call centersCanadaCosmopolitanismEnglishGlobalizationImperialismIndiaHegemonyLanguage

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Government and PoliticsHumboldt State UniversityArcataUSA