Archives:Oppositional Uses of Technology and Corporate Competition: The Case of Radio Broadcasting

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This chapter focuses on the oppositional uses of audio technology, specifically radio and the hi-fi phonograph, and the key role these applications play in identifying underdeveloped or completely neglected areas of commercial development. These appropriations of audio technology were pioneered by two often overlapping groups-the youth subculture and the engineering, tinkering subculture-in a way that often linked technical rebellion with cultural rebellion. Yet corporate antipathy is often mixed with a need and desire to succeed in the corporate world, so these oppositional uses of technology are often the site of major cultural contradictions surrounding the corporate ethos in the United States. Oppositional activities exposed areas of corporate and technological myopia. The corporations managing audio technologies had to respond to the innovations of hobbyists, and did so by co-opting and taming outlaw practices to create huge new businesses.

Citation and Link

Susan J. Douglas, "Oppositional Uses of Technology and Corporate Competition: The Case of Radio Broadcasting," in Technological Competitiveness: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Industries (Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press, 1993), 208-219.