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Governing the Digital Future through Demonstrations: An Example from the History of Television
Högskolan i Halmstad, Sektionen för hälsa och samhälle (HOS), Centrum för studier av politik, kommunikation och medier (CPKM).
2011 (engelsk)Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

The topic of this paper belongs to the history and sociology of innovation, or what Joseph A. Schumpeter (1934/2007:65.; 14 f.) called ’the carrying out of new combinations’: to do new things, or the same things differently, by combining ’materials and forces within our reach’ in a new way. The question addressed in this paper has been surprisingly little explored in the literature: What roles can be ascribed to staged demonstrations in the (re)creation of technical standards in processes of innovation and the (re)creation of markets? A provisional answer would be that carefully staged demonstrations, as a highly institutionalized device for persuasion, negotiation and the assertion of power, are important resources in making visible, defining, extending and enacting what can be connected to what and what cannot in the future. The paper examines the relations between demonstrations and the (re)creation of technical standards in the context of what in the 1980s and early 1990s was publicly reported upon as a ’war’ or ’battle’ over which technical standards should ultimately carry future ’high definition television’ (HDTV) and its market(s). Based upon a broad array of empirical materials collected in 1992-2009, I tell a story of a particular demonstration: the HD-Divine demonstration at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam in 1992 (IBC’92). HD-Divine was a Scandinavian research and development programme launched in 1990 to counteract the claims and strategies of the Eureka 95 – a programme for the introduction of HDTV in Europe. Through the HD-Divine programme various people were drawn together in joint action with a first common goal being to demonstrate a working prototype of a new (HD)TV-system at IBC’92. According to some of my interviewees, understanding the role of the demonstration of HD-Divine at IBC’92 is crucial for grasping the ways in which digital technology has entered and been combined with traditional national networks for television in Europe during the past decades. The paper also examines how the word ’digital’ began to be used to support arguments for changing people’s belief or action with regard to future (HD)TV-systems, including the (re)creation of technical standards and other social ’rules’ as a way to induce durable interactions and relations – and the abandonment of alternative paths of interaction. I also attempt to challenge dominant perceptions, both within and beyond the academy, related to the emergence of yet another dualism gaining strength during the recent decades: that between ’the digital’ and ’the analogue’. Focusing on empirical material from the history of television, I suggest that, rather than reiying and black-boxing the analogue-digital divide, we might use it as a point of departure for thinking inventively about the role of visibility in the (re)creation of markets and the mutations of politics and technology in staged demonstrations.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2011.
Emneord [en]
demonstrations, innovation, entrepreneurship, high definition television
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-15430OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-15430DiVA, id: diva2:423633
Konferanse
The 2nd Workshop on Imagining Business: On the Visuality, Performances and Materialities in Management, Organising and Governing Practicies, Segovia, Spain, May 19-20, 2011. Organized by the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (EIASM)
Tilgjengelig fra: 2011-06-15 Laget: 2011-06-15 Sist oppdatert: 2018-03-22bibliografisk kontrollert

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