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Point-to-Point: Telecommunications Networks from the Optical Telegraph to the Mobile Telephone

John, Richard R.; Balbi, Gabriele

This chapter surveys the history of telecommunications from a global perspective and highlights three influential interpretative traditions. It has two parts. The first part defines “telecommunications” and sketches the main dimensions of four telecommunications networks over a two-hundred-year period—the optical telegraph, the electric telegraph, the landline telephone, and the mobile telephone (and its predecessor, the wireless telegraph). The second part shows how historical scholarship on topics in the history of telecommunications has been shaped by three intellectual traditions: the Large Technical Systems (LTS) approach; political economy; and the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT).

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More Information

Published In
Handbook of Communications Science vol. 5: Communication and Technology
Volume
5
Pages
35 - 55
Publisher
De Gruyter Mouton
Publication Origin
Berlin
Academic Units
Journalism
History
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