+ database
+ links
+ about
+ contact

Media History in Canada Database

Author: Martin, Michele
Title: Communication and Social Forms: A Study of the Development of the Telephone System, 1876-1920
Year: 1987
Place: Toronto
Publisher: PhD Diss., University of Toronto
Abstract: This dissertation uses a Marxist perspective for the analysis of interactive means of communication such as the telephone. It suggests that these systems of communication are indispensable to the process of circulation of capital which, in turn, is essential to the process of realisation and accumulation. As such, the telephone system, recognised as a public service in 1902, reproduces the characteristics of the process of circulation/exchange in addition to that of the production of commodities. Accordingly, its development entails not only the contradictions involved in capitalist relations of production, but also those, specific to the process of circulation, between private interests of the individual capitalist, and public interest of the society. Indeed, the first part of the dissertation shows that a telephone system developed in capitalist society reproduces the relations of production already existing in the society in which it expanded. As such, it emphasises a complementary antithesis between the public and private aspects inherent to its system and which shapes the telephonic mode of communication imposed on the society. A second part of the research shows that the antithesis between these two aspects of the telephone system also influences the labour force producing it. It brings some conflicts within the production/consumption processes, due to the particularity of instantaneity of the product, and creates a dynamic leading to the elimination of the operating labour force. Finally, the study establishes a link between the form of telephone systems which came out of specific politico-economic conditions and change in social and cultural practices. It suggests that specific changes produced by a telephone system are influenced by its particular form, and that other telephone activities might develop with a telephone system allowing for different uses. from Proquest Dissertations