Father Outsources Best

Possible article for my essay on teaching globalization. In the June 20 (Father’s Day) issue of the New York Times, Bruce Stockler’s “Father Outsources Best.” The op-ed piece is written as a letter to his children imagining that his job as father has been outsourced to Bangalore, India.

As Anjali points out, the article unfairlydirects resentment towards Indian people who are ostensibly benefitting from globalization at the expense of American people. What I find interesting (and upsetting) about the essay is the extent to which the essay hinges on a crisis in masculinity through the concept of a father whose authority in the family has been displaced by globalization. In this sense, I think the essay will fit nicely with the “crisis in masculinity” narrative that contends with and underwrites Fight Club’s “anti-corporate” narrative (I don’t believe the film to be truly anti-corporate, but merely tapping into those tensions so they can be resolved later in the film).

I’m currently working through David Held and Anthony McGrew’s Globalization/Anti-Globalization, which lays out many of the issues I’m planning to address quite nicely. More later as this essay continues to evolve.

Update: Corrected to clarify vague referent. I need to proofread my blog entries more carefully from now on.

4 Comments »

  1. Amardeep Said,

    June 25, 2004 @ 3:38 pm

    Yes, ‘crisis in masculinity’ is exactly the word for it.

    This piece is supposed to be funny, but given the sexism (he conflates breadwinning with paternity), I don’t find myself laughing.

    That said, some of the individual lines sending up corporate speak (“revenue streams”) are clever…

  2. chuck Said,

    June 25, 2004 @ 3:45 pm

    I wasn’t sure what the intentions were (an attempt to mock fears about outsourcing? or to mock outsourcing itself?). In that sense, not to mention the sexism, the satire seemed pretty unsuccessful.

    And, yes, the parody of corpoate speak is great (although I still think “Office Space” might accomplish that parody as well as anything I’ve seen or read).

  3. jeremy hunsinger Said,

    June 27, 2004 @ 12:08 pm

    just finished teaching a selection of david held’s democracy and the global order in my contemporary democratic theory class, he has some useful ideas. the Cultures of globalization reader is also pretty good in the globalization reader along with Appadurai’s work.

  4. chuck Said,

    June 27, 2004 @ 12:25 pm

    Yeah, I came across “The Cultures of Globalization,” yesterday at Borders and plan to check it out of the library. It looks very useful. Also, I definitely need to check out Appadurai.

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