Flexible Indian Labor: Yoga, Information Technology Migration, and U.S. Technoculture




Black, Shameem

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University of California at Berkeley


In today’s United States, yoga seems to provide a popular antidote to the increasing demands of technology. But, this essay contends, the practice also plays an important part in a larger cultural logic whereby labor from India nourishes a seemingly endless appetite for technological innovation in the United States. This essay shows how imaginative representations of yoga in the autobiography of the Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda helped to create fantasies that could alleviate U.S. anxieties about technological development. The essay then exposes an inverted mirror of this cultural logic in the representation of information technology migrants from India, whose experiences of grey market exploitation in the United States show the nation’s reliance on a disavowed Indian labor source. This essay contends that both the Indian yogi and the Indian technology migrant can be read as U.S. technology workers. This labor has become important both to the U.S. body politic and to the Indian state, but it can be distinctly debilitating for the Indian diaspora.



yoga, technology, Paramahansa Yogananda, H-1 B visa



Race and Yoga


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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs4.0 license


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