Landline Natives: Telephone Practices since the 1950s as Innovation

Mette Simonsen Abildgaard*, Lee Humphreys

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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 twen- tieth 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 nat- ural 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.
Translated title of the contributionFastnetindfødte: Telefonpraksis som innovation fra 1950'erne og frem
Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnology and Culture
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)923-947
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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