The article presents a case study of a call center in the context of Erving Goffman's theory. The call center is a stage where actors-consultants play their roles. Their prescribed roles constitute a script to be duly observed. Role performance is constantly supervised and meticulously monitored with the aid of invisible mechanisms. Almost every sphere of performance is controlled, including qualitative and quantitative efficiency, working time, interruptions and the usage of technical equipment (e.g. computers) in order to eliminate discordance with the prescribed role. Does strict control of the occupant roles transform a call center into a total institution? Although the identity of consultants is regulated by the employer, the work is not obligatory. Goffman's theoretical categories are adequate for the analysis of a call center, but the reference to a total institution in the exact sense of this term would not be correct.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.