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Communication Artefacts?: Context and Content in the History of the Electric Telegraph
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Humanities.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3386-4396
2008 (English)In: Paper presented at Teknik- och vetenskapshistoriska dagarna, Tekniska museet Stockholm, 8-10 april 2008., 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The use of any communication technology requires a shared set of meanings regarding the technology itself. This paper discusses how the conflict between idealised notions of the electric telegraph and actual experiences of the technology as an artifact and material prescence, affected the interpretation of telegraphic dispatches in Sweden during the period 1850–1870. Drawing on both comments on the new technology published in regional newspapers and archival sources from the Swedish telegraph agency Telegrafverket, the paper reconstructs the main traits of this tension. Although the electric telegraph was a positively charged symbol for the possibility of bridging space in a short time, its uses and materiality on the local level created conflicts between different groups of local citizens, potential users and personnel at the regional telegraph offices. The existence of such conflicts highlights the complexity of the processes whereby, using the termonology of SCOT [The Social Construction of Technology] the perceived meaning of a new technology after an initial period of competing interpretations, reaches "closure".

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008.
Keyword
Electric telegraph, material turn, Hughes, Artefact, time space, sabotage
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-7749OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-7749DiVA: diva2:133175
Projects
Distant news and local opinion: How the telegraph affected spatial and temporal horizons in northern Scandinavia, 1850-1880
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2008-12-15 Last updated: 2009-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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