Reshaping Communication: Technology, Information and Social Change


Paschal Preston

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part 1: Introduction and Overview

    Part 2: Competing Theories of the Contemporary

    Part 3: Mapping a New Millennium and Multimedia Order

    Part 4: Alternative Prospects and Possibilities

  • Copyright

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    List of Tables and Figures

    List of Tables
    • Table 2.1 Summary of typical ‘third-wave’ model and periodisation 29
    • Table 6.1 Typology of technology-based innovations 116
    • Table 6.2 Summary: four long waves of capitalist development 126
    • Table 7.1 Change in the economically active: North America, Europe, Japan and Asia, 1950–95 138
    • Table 7.2 Estimates of annual working hours and time spent on use of selected media, USA 1994–5 139
    • Table 7.3 Productivity and output growth in OECD countries, 1960–96 142
    • Table 7.4 Estimates of unemployment levels: selected years 1933–98 146
    • Table 7.5 Modified primary information sector (PIS): typology and description 152
    • Table 7.6 Numbers employed in selected PIS industries, USA 1980–98 155
    • Table 7.7 Percentage shares and changes in PIS employment, USA 1980–98 157
    • Table 8.1 Official data on distribution of income components across groups: selected countries, c. 1975–95 170
    • Table 8.2 Estimated shares of family income received by each fifth and top 5 per cent, USA, 1970–96 171
    • Table 9.1 Employment in ‘mature’ media and cultural industries, USA, 1970–98 197
    • Table 9.2 Selected media and cultural industries: estimated percentage share of GDP in USA, 1960–99 199
    • Table 9.3 Estimated growth of television channels in the EU15 area, 1980–95 202
    • Table 9.4 International communication access and connectivity indicators, 1996: country blocs by income group 213
    • Table 10.1 Models of commodification in public communication 242
    • Table 10.2 Public communication and forms of collectivity: competing conceptions 245
    • Table 11.1 Estimated long-run rates of growth in average income per person, 1500–1996 262
    List of Figures
    • Figure 6.1 Contrasting models of the technological-social change relation 111

    List of Abbreviations

    ECEuropean Commission
    ECUEuropean Currency Unit
    EUEuropean Union
    G7Group of Seven (leading industrial nations)
    GIIGlobal Information Infrastructure
    ICInformation and communication (industries, products, services etc)
    ICTInformation and communication technologies
    ISDNIntegrated Services Digital Network
    ISHInformation superhighway
    LFRLess Favoured Region (official EU term)
    MNTSMajor new technology system
    NIINational Information Infrastructure
    NTIAUS National Telecommunications & Information Administration
    POTSPlain old telephone service
    R&DResearch and development
    SEPSocio-technical paradigm
    SMESmall and Medium-sized Enterprises
    TEPTechno-economic paradigm


    A book, like any text, is really the product of many minds, exchanges and formal and informal learnings. This book has been a long time in the making and reflects a large set of different influences within the professional and personal circles in which I have moved. Thus I must acknowledge many debts and influences beyond those formally listed in the references. These include exchanges with many colleagues and students over the past decade, as well as colleagues in various interdisciplinary and transnational research networks. I also appreciate the encouragement and support of former mentors and colleagues in PCL, UEL and in Reading University, especially David Marsh, Sophie Bowlby, Peter Hall, Ash Amin, Ruth Muller and Linda Peake. I acknowledge the support of DCU colleagues such as Farrel Corcoran, Barbara O'Connor, Stephanie McBride and the various formal and informal exchanges and ‘learnings’ derived from a great crew of past and current research students, including Roderick Flynn, Aphra Kerr, Des McGuinness and Michael O'Gorman.

    Thanks too to Pauline Jones who has helped in the production of various drafts of the present text; to Julia Hall, Seth Edwards, Marion Steel and Rosie Maynard at Sage for their much-appreciated support and patience; and to two anonymous reviewers of an earlier draft.

    In a real sense, authors of books, or any other text, bear the stamp of many extra-textual and extra-discursive influences. I also want to note the many special friends who have shaped ‘the everyday life’ and stimulated much more than the intellectual zones and all those who have made my adult life adventures, in London and Dublin, all the more vibrant, stimulating and often joyful. Here I should also express my appreciation to that special crew who have added the essential spices to life in the capital of the so-called ‘celtic tiger’, Europe's own would-be ‘information age hub’. For their friendship craic and chats I want to express my thanks to: Kevin Maguire, Kozo Matsuda, Ruth Clarke-O'Daly, Miriam Lillis, Eilish Ward, Dennis Cahalane, Grainne Murphy, Stephen Sefton, Hitome Ebe, Clara Martin, Anne Tangy, Ana Pereda, Roisin Maguire, Angela O'Driscoll, Mary O'Sullivan, James Anderson, Roise Bhaoil, Lis Geary and Bernadette Clarke. And a special appreciation must go to Andrea Grisold for her very special friendship, support and intellectual exchanges.

    This book is dedicated to my father, James Preston (1922–2000).

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