The telephone has played a key role in shaping modern life. While most scholars focus on the early use of landline telephones, this article follows the subsequent social history of landline telephones in the late twentieth century as an equally significant phase of innovation, when telephone practices changed radically as a result of transformations in national and household infrastructures. In this article, we identify a new generation of “landline natives” emerging around 1968; for them, the telephone was a natural form of communication and part of their home environments. Our case study of how telephone use became taken for granted serves as a prehistory for scholars studying cellphone and smartphone practices as well as media scholars seeking to understand audience participation in television and radio.
- Domestication Studies
- Science and Technology Studies