TIK seminar: Satisfied callers: police, corporations, and documentation in India
Matthew Hull will talk about how a disjunct arrangement of the Indian state hiring a private corporation to run a call center to take emergency calls to the police, appears to be reshaping lines of authority and police practice.
Refuse to produce documents
State organizations are infamous for insatiable appetites for documentation, but sometimes they refuse to produce documents. In India, police officers often refuse to register complaints and initiate proceedings.
A recent project by the police in the Indian state of Punjab has aimed to eliminate this practice. The state hired a private corporation to run a call center to take emergency calls to the police.
An elaborate database
Young, middle-class, educated women staff the phones and act as case coordinators, dispatching police in locations across the state and monitoring the progress of cases through an elaborate database that logs communications from victims and police documents.
Reshaping police practice
Procedures embedded in corporation software translates the government procedure into the language of customer service. This disjunct arrangement appears to be reshaping lines of authority and police practice.
About the lecturer
Matthew Hull is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the nexus of representation, technology, and institutions. He is currently working on the history and theory of the modern corporation and lotteries in India.