New Media and Popular Imagination: Launching Radio, Television, and Digital Media in the United States

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New Media and Popular Imagination offers a highly original account of the ways in which successive means of electronic communication-radio, television, and digital media-have been anticipated, debated, and taken up in the twentieth-century United States. Intended as an intervention in the emerging scholarly and policy debates around contemporary digital culture, the book analyses popular responses to earlier moments of technological innovation in the century. Successive electronic media challenged the borders between private and public, disturbed notions of national identity, and disrupted the gendered routines and spaces of the private home. Illuminating both the continuities and disjunctions between old media and new, New Media and Popular Imagination offers fresh insights into the relationship between technological change and cultural form.

About the Author:
William Boddy is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College and Co-Ordinator of the Film Studies Program at the Graduate Center, both of the City University of New York

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A concise yet complete overview of public consciousness of new media. Boddy is a distinguished media historian, and he offers here a fascinating, fresh look at the history of the technology and social impact of cinema, early radio, television, computers, cable television, and digital media. ... Very well researched and indexed, this book should be in all collections supporting study of broadcast history, media, and communication. Essential, upper-division undergraduates and above."—Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198711469
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/2004
  • Series: Oxford Television Studies Series
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William Boddy is Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College and Co-Ordinator of the Film Studies Program at the Graduate Center, both of the City University of New York.

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Table of Contents

1 Cinema and wireless in turn of the century popular imagination 7
2 Wireless nation : defining radio as a domestic technology 16
3 The amateur, the housewife, and the salesroom floor : promoting post-war US television 44
4 US television abroad, 1960/1990 : market power and national introspection 56
5 'Mission number one is to kill TV' : remaking the domestic television apparatus in the 1990s 68
6 Weather porn and the battle for eyeballs : the transition to digital broadcasting in the USA and UK 79
7 Redefining the home screen : the case of the digital video recorder 100
8 Marketers strike back : virtual advertising 108
9 How God watches television : early responses to digital television 123
10 High tech in a falling market : interactivity and advertising form in contemporary US television 136
11 'Too easy, too cheap and too fast to control' : intellectual property battles in digital television 152
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2004

    good historical perspective

    Is the continuing unfolding of the digital media a brand new era in communications history, as some of its proponents breathlessly claim? In his timely monograph, Boddy offers us a perceptive historical overview. He compares this time with several other periods, but most pertinently, to when radio and television were new. By citing the historial record, he shows that each instance of a new technology also caused existing business models and consumer habits to be plunged into controversy and change. Specifically, the changes in society in transitioning to wireless communication from 1900 to the 1920s were greater and more traumatic than those espoused due to today's digital media. Ironically, that early radio era gave rise to a gender perference for male hobbyists that echoes the current gender imbalance amongst early computer users. We also see concerns that radio fans might obsessively devote too much time to their hobby. Very might like today's video game users. There are contrasts. Radio was seen as offering a mass unifying effect on its audience, at a national level. As distinct to fears that digital media might lead to an increasing fragmentation of the contemporary public experience. Boddy also offers a perspective on Virtual Reality. He recaps the rise of this theme in the early 1990s, as personified by people like Jared Lanier. However, as I write this in 2004, VR is still over the horizon. Unaffordable as a mass consumer item. Over 10 years after VR burst on the mass consciousness. Several entire Moore cycles later. But if you look at his descriptions of how television struggled for some 20 years, before it became a success in the 1950s, you might appreciate where we stand with VR today.

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