As with all long-term projects, this book has stacked up a series of
intellectual and monetary debts along its way. The fact that this book
draws from research conducted on three continents in five different
cities expands the network of indebtedness even further.
At the outset, I thank my father, B. D. Radhakrishnan, whose rich
stories of the young women and men of India’s burgeoning technology
industry piqued my interest in this topic as early as the mid-1990s.
Thanks to his long experience in the global it industry, I began this
project with an ‘‘insider’’ view. Aside from that, my father provided me
with encouragement, initial contacts for my pilot studies in Bangalore
and Mumbai, and constant support, even when it became clear that my
approach to the topic was clearly at odds with his own numbers-driven
technical approach to problem solving and analysis.
At the Sociology Department at the University of California, Berkeley,
I was blessed with a dream dissertation committee. Raka Ray, my fearless
chair, personal advisor, and friend provided every kind of intellectual
and mental support possible, and I continue to be indebted to her for her
generosity as my primary mentor in my academic career. Peter Evans
encouraged me to pursue the ambitious task of ethnography on three
continents and persisted in getting me to ask tough questions of my
data. Gillian Hart, without whose support I never would have ventured
toward South Africa, also exerted a profound intellectual influence upon
me, and I am grateful for her constant support, starting from my days as
an uncertain undergraduate.
I have been fortunate to have always had strong funding for this
project. The American Institute of Indian Studies provided support for
the bulk of the research in India conducted in 2004–5. The graduate
division of the University of California, Berkeley, funded the fieldwork in
South Africa and Silicon Valley, as well as my writing period in 2005–6.
After leaving Berkeley, I had the luxury of being a part of the Global
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