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Ham Radio's Technical Culture
     

Ham Radio's Technical Culture

by Kristen Haring
 
Ham Radio's Technical Culture looks at the hobby of global, person-to-person communication by radio in mid twentieth century America, decades before the Internet. Drawing on a wealth of personal accounts found in radio magazines and newsletters and from technical manuals, trade journals, and government documents, Haring explains why hi-tech employers recruited amateur

Overview

Ham Radio's Technical Culture looks at the hobby of global, person-to-person communication by radio in mid twentieth century America, decades before the Internet. Drawing on a wealth of personal accounts found in radio magazines and newsletters and from technical manuals, trade journals, and government documents, Haring explains why hi-tech employers recruited amateur radio operators and why electronics manufacturers catered to these specialty customers. She describes radio hobbyists' position within the military and civil defense during World War II and the Cold War as well as the effect of the hobby on family dynamics. By considering ham radio in the context of model building, photography, high-fidelity audio, and similar leisure pursuits, Haring highlights the shared experiences of technical hobbyists and shows the influence of tinkerers beyond hobby communities.

About the Author:
Kristen Haring holds degrees in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PhD in history of science from Harvard University

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kristen Haring has written a valentine to the ham radio community....

[The book] situates radio hobbyists not only in the technological realm but within the worlds of work and home, as consumers and as contributors to civil defense." Michele Hilmes The Wilson Quarterly

"This book will help us better understand ourselves." William Klykylo (WA8FOZ) CQ Magazine

"With its detailed and interesting analysis of the interaction between technical cultures and technical identities, [this book] makes an important contribution to technology studies. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in the complicated interactions between technology, culture, and society." Sungook Hong Isis

The Wilson Quarterly - Michele Hilmes
Kristen Haring has written a valentine to the ham radio community.... [The book] situates radio hobbyists not only in the technological realm but within the worlds of work and home, as consumers and as contributors to civil defense.

CQ Magazine - William Klykylo (WA8FOZ)
This book will help us better understand ourselves.

Isis - Sungook Hong
With its detailed and interesting analysis of the interaction between technical cultures and technical identities, [this book] makes an important contribution to technology studies. It is highly recommended to anyone interested in the complicated interactions between technology, culture, and society.

Amanda R. Keeler
...an insightful historical exploration into the emergence and continued viability of ham radio over the course of the past eight decades.

QST Magazine - Gil McElroy
Chapters dealing with the historical relationships between manufacturers of radio equipment and amateurs (in which Haring includes an examination of the significance of the kit building phenomenon upon the development of Amateur Radio); the role played by amateurs within technical professions in what Haring calls a 'complicated hybrid identity' that pitted professional affiliation against amateur individualism; and the ways in which Amateur Radio fought for and preserved its place in American society during the Cold War and Vietnamall are well worth the reading for the fascinating historical picture they present.

Cultural Geographies - Hilary Geoghegan
Drawing on archive material, Haring composes an account as interesting to the historian of technology as to the cultural geographer with interests in concepts of home, leisure, masculinity and technology...Haring succinctly captures the hidden world of the radio ham, adding a charming dimension to cultural geography's current fascination with more advanced scientific and technical cultures.

Technology and Culture - Douglas Craig
Haring provides a fascinating interpretation of ham radio as 'a socially sanctioned escape' for men within the home.

Bookforum - Reena Jana
In this engaging study, [Haring] has constructed the story of a particular (and peculiar) technology and the cultish, fraternity-like following that sustained it for decades.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262083553
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
12/01/2006
Series:
Inside Technology Series
Pages:
238
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Emily Thompson
Kristen Haring has constructed an engaging account of ham radio culture in mid-twentieth-century America. In so doing, she illuminates how people assign meaning to and identify with technologies of all kinds, thus her book will be of value to all students of technological culture.

From the Publisher
"Kristen Haring has constructed an engaging account of ham radio culture in mid-twentieth-century America. In so doing, she illuminates how people assign meaning toand identify withtechnologies of all kinds, thus her book will be of value to all students of technological culture." Emily Thompson ,Professor of History, Princeton University
Susan Douglas
Although approximately one million Americans operated ham radios in the course of the 20th century, very little has been written about this thriving technical culture in our midst. Kristen Haring offers a deeply sympathetic history of this under-appreciated technical community and their role in contributing to American advances in science and technology, especially the electronics industry. In the process she reveals how technical tinkering has defined manhood in the United States and has powerfully constituted 'technical identities' with often utopian, even, at times, revolutionary, notions about the social uses of technology.

Meet the Author

Kristen Haring is Assistant Professor of History at Auburn University. She holds degrees in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a PhD in history of science from Harvard University. Haring's work has been recognized by the Society for the History of Technology, which awarded her the IEEE Life Members' Prize in Electrical History for portions of Ham Radio's Technical Culture. She has served on the board of directors of the Keith Haring Foundation since its creation by her brother in 1989.

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