History of telegraphy: actors, institutions, landscapes

Simone Fari, Université de Grenade

interviendra dans le cadre du séminaire Histoire des sciences, histoire de l’innovation
(Université Paris Sorbonne, UPMC, LabEx EHNE)

le jeudi 24 mars à 17h00

dans la salle de conférence de l’Institut des sciences de la communication (ISCC)
20 rue Berbier-du-Mets, Paris 13°, M° Gobelins.

Résumé

Masterminded in the 1830s and subjected to much experimentation in the following decade, the telegraph had already entered everyday life in the 1850s. In the second half of the century international telegraph systems, brought together by the integration of numerous interconnected national telegraph networks linked by long submarine cables, then went through an extraordinary period of expansion. On the one hand, historians studied in depth the political, technological and economic features of the national and international telegraph systems. On the other hand, anthropologists and sociologists researched how the web and modern communications transformed the landscape and its perception by the users. The relation between telegraph technologies and the landscape has been neglected.

Telegraph infrastructure was really so light? Did the decision-makers and the user create some new environments (for example virtual landscapes)?

This paper will answer these questions and it will describe how decision makers (managers and politicians) and users (manly railways and press) contributed to create a new environment: the telegraph network. In particular, two main study-cases will be considered: British telegraphs and the creation/development of Telegraph Union.

 

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