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When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking about Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In the history of electronic communication, the last quarter of the nineteenth century holds a special place, for it was during this period that the telephone, phonograph, electric light, wireless, and cinema were all invented. In When old Technologies Were New, Carolyn Marvin explores how two of these new inventions--the telephone and the electric light--were publicly env ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published May 24th 1990 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1988)
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Tomomi Nakagawa
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is the crystallization of Marvin's tremendous effort before the Internet age, and also is thought-provocative through overwhelming accumulation of the contemporary data. Her method of accumulation somewhat seems to resemble Highbrow/Lowbrow by Lawrence Levine, which was issued almost at the same time. I can imagine the difficulty in finding every material and magazine article quoted in her book (As you know, it has become far easier now by using the Internet).
Though its framing seems
...more
Katie
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As someone who studies new technologies, I really enjoyed this book and found myself annotating many parts of the book. It's particularly interesting to note how much things haven't changed culture-wise when it comes to new technology. A good read if you're into history. ...more
Sarah
Aug 18, 2019 added it
Shelves: 2008
I only read parts
李 曾
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
an interesting topic but not elaborate explain
Michael
Jun 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
In When Old Technologies Were New (1988), Carolyn Marvin explores the drama around new technologies in the 19th century (especially the telephone and electric light) "in which existing groups perpetually negotiate power, authority, representation, and knowledge with whatever resources are available" (5). She shows how old practices shift, new practices develop, and relationships change as people re-interpret their world (5). She defines media as "constructed complexes of habits, beliefs, and pro ...more
Elizabeth
Mar 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
I wish all histories could be this compelling while maintaining a high-degree of theoretical relevance. Marvin's history of electronic communication (think its earliest manifestations: lights, telephones) compiles an impressive and provocative array of primary source documents to expose the mindsets of these technologies' earliest users. She chooses examples that (one hopes) are representative, but that mostly stand out because they are memorable (Yale undergraduates unearthing a lamp post becau ...more
Arash Kamangir
به‌قدری که می‌خواستم روی کتاب وقت گذاشتم و بعد کنارش گذاشتم.
spooky blossom.
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Carolyn Marvin is the Frances Yates Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.

note: there are two authors with the same name

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