By Claude S. Fischer
The phone looms huge in our lives, as ever found in smooth societies as vehicles and tv. Claude Fischer offers the 1st social heritage of this very important yet little-studied technology--how we encountered, verified, and finally embraced it with enthusiasm. utilizing cell advertisements, oral histories, cell correspondence, and statistical facts, Fischer's paintings is a colourful exploration of ways, whilst, and why americans all started speaking during this substantially new manner.Studying 3 California groups, Fischer uncovers how the phone turned built-in into the non-public worlds and group actions of standard american citizens within the first many years of this century. ladies have been in particular avid of their use, a phenomenon which the first vigorously discouraged after which later wholeheartedly promoted. repeatedly Fischer reveals that the phone supported a wide-ranging community of social family and performed an important position in group existence, in particular for girls, from organizing kid's relationships and church actions to assuaging the loneliness and tedium of rural life.Deftly written and meticulously researched, the US Calling provides an incredible new bankruptcy to the social heritage of our state and illuminates a basic point of cultural modernism that's crucial to modern existence.
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Extra info for America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940
Note that the fascination included, at first, rejection of the automobile itself and, later, hostility to many of its correlates, such as accidents and congestion. There are many reasons for the automobile's notoriety. It was public, noisy, and glaring in ways the telephone was not. It had a considerable and direct economic role. The machine was costly, and its purchase generated other spending. ) Driving helped bring commerce to townand helped take it away. Use of the automobile entailed dramaspeed, contest, romance, danger, and death.
Again, having servants sharply distinguished subscribing households; over 70 percent of those with a servant had telephones. Almost half of the notable households subscribed. ) Nevertheless, telephones were no longer exclusive to the elite. More than 1 in 10 blue-collar families now had a telephone. Also by 1910, subscribing reflected a household's gender composition. Female-headed households were less likely to have telephones than male-headed ones (21 percent versus 38 percent). However, the more adult women living in male-headed homesa wife plus adult daughtersthe higher the chances of telephone subscription.
In 1930 over a third of even unskilled workers' homes had telephones. Up to this point, the familiar diffusion-of-innovation picture appears: Adoption proceeds earliest and fastest with higher-status groups, later and more slowly with lower-status groups. The Depression then intervened, however, setting back telephone diffusion, especially among the lower-status groups. Occupation affected telephone subscription through its relation to household income, of course, but also perhaps in other ways, as suggested in the earlier discussion of occupations and telephones (see Chapter 4).