Scholars Colloquium by Dan Schiller

What Can Looking at Organized Labor In Telecommunications Tell Us About The Transition To Digital Capitalism?
Date: 
24 Jan 2018 -
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Location: 
Annenberg School for Communication
Audience: 
ASC Only
Type: 
Colloquium

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Typically neglected in analyses of the history of US telecommunications policy is the role of organized labor; this absence is especially disabling in the context of the crucial transition to digital capitalism during the 1960s and 1970s.  Relying on archival sources, this study of major  telecommunications unions suggests that internecine divisions, top-down leadership, and mounting pressure - rather than a lack of strategic clarity - account for the unions' limited impact.


Dan Schiller completed his Ph.D. at the Annenberg School for Communication in 1978. A historian of communications, he has been principally concerned with communications systems and institutions as formative elements within the forever-dynamic and –conflicted social relations of capitalism. He has focused principally on the United States context, in works that engage the history of journalism; the intellectual history of communications study; the still-unfolding transition into digital capitalism (a term he coined in the 1990s); and the social history of telecommunications. His conceptual approach has been enriched by working both in communication departments (University of Leicester; Temple University; UCSD) and schools of library and information science (UCLA; University of Illinois). Author of numerous books and articles, Schiller also has contributed frequently to Le Monde diplomatique and has lectured at institutions in East Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Presently, he is working to complete an archivally-based study of US telecommunications from the 19th century Post Office to the Internet.

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