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Global "Body Shopping" by Biao Xiang

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Introduction

This ethnography is about embeddedness and disembeddedness—about how new human connections and disconnections are created and ultimately contribute to a process of abstraction in global capitalism today.

Consider the following. Flying in the face of an industry projection of a labor shortage of 850,000 in the information-technology sector in the United States for the year 2001,1 the first eight months of that year saw more than 350,000 high-tech workers, mostly in IT, laid off,2 a figure climbing to 600,000 by November.3 And in another twist, the period 1998–2000 found delegations from more than twenty countries coming to India to recruit IT workers,4 but in May 2001, some 50,000 Indian “computer whiz-kids” in the United States were ...

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