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Dynamics of Modern Communication
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Dynamics of Modern Communication
The Shaping and Impact of New Communication Technologies


September 1995 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Translated by LIZ LIBBRECHT Combining political economy with the sociology of innovation, Dynamics of Modern Communication is a comprehensive social history of communication technology from 1790 to the present. Author Patrice Flichy presents a careful critique and historical analysis of the social shaping and impact of the major communication technologies of the past 200 years. From the semaphore and telegraph to contemporary information technologies like the phonograph, photograph, telephone, radio, cinema, and television, this book focuses on the relationship between technological change and the social changes in which they were situated. Particular emphasis is put on four social processes: the birth of the modern state at the end of the 18th century, the development of stock markets, the transformation of private life in the modern nuclear family, and the individualism of the late 20th century. Dynamics of Modern Communication provides a provocative exploration of the interaction of technology and social context in processes such as the move from public forms of communication to more private and individualized forms. Patrice Flichy excellently demonstrates the gap between the original conception of a technology and its end use after molding by political and economic forces. Students and academics in communications, media and technology studies, sociology and social history will appreciate the author's accessible style and the insights this text has to offer.

 
Introduction
 
PART ONE: FROM STATE-CONTROLLED COMMUNICATION TO MARKET-CONTROLLED COMMUNICATION (1790-1870)
 
Introduction
 
State-Controlled Communication
The Semaphore Telegraph  
 
Networks and Electricity
 
Market-Controlled Communication
The Electric Telegraph  
 
PART TWO: FAMILY COMMUNICATION (1870-1930)
 
Introduction
 
Collection and Souvenir
Photography and the Gramophone  
 
From Trading in Goods to Trading in Souls
The Telephone  
 
The Wireless Age
Radio Broadcasting  
 
PART THREE: GLOBAL COMMUNICATION (1930-1990)
 
Introduction
 
Telephone Engineers' Technical Options
 
The Triumph of Electronics
Television and Computers  
 
Private Communication
 
Final Reflections

`Focusing on the relationship between technological and social change, this study offers a comprehensive social history of communication technologies from 1790 to the present' - International Review of Social History

`A scholarly, analytical assessment which makes substantial contributions to our theoretical understanding of new communication technologies.... The editors of the Media, Culture & Society series of SAGE have done us a great service by arranging for the translation and re-publication of the volume.... The "shelf life" and scholarly value of Dynamics will, without doubt, far surpass that of more fashionable publications' - Communicatiewetenschap

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