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Book Cover for: Connections: Social and Cultural Studies of the Telephone in American Life, James E. Katz

Connections: Social and Cultural Studies of the Telephone in American Life

James E. Katz

Perhaps no other technology has done so much to so many, but been studied by so few, as the telephone. Even as its physical size diminishes, the telephone is becoming more important. In Connections, now available in paperback, James E. Katz gives greater visibility to this important element in modern life.

Katz examines how the telephone reveals gender relations in a way not predicted by feminist theories, how it can be used to protect and invade personal privacy, and how people harness telephone answering machines to their advantage. Katz's inquiry reports on obscene phone calls, the abuses of caller-ID technology, and attitudes toward voice mail. National data about cellular telephones are presented to show the extent to which beepers and car phones have become status symbols.

Katz ranges from microsocial interaction to macrosocial theory, and from the family and personal levels of organization to that of large-scale industrial bureaucracies. The result of this investigation is a compelling mosaic spanning sociology and psychology, and organization and communication studies. These arresting portraits will offer profound insight to historians, students of American culture, and those concerned about the nature and direction of the emerging information society.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Publish Date: Apr 30th, 1999
  • Pages: 364
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.24in - 6.34in - 1.28in - 1.64lb
  • EAN: 9781560003946
  • Categories: Media StudiesSociology - GeneralCommunication Studies

About the Author

Katz, James E.: -

James E. Katz is professor and chair of the Department of Communication at Rutgers University where he also directs the Center for Mobile Communication Studies. In 2009, he was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Twentieth Century Communications History (Italy). Prior to coming to Rutgers, Katz headed a social science research unit at Bell Communications Research. He has two patents in the telecommunications field and has held fellowships at Harvard and MIT. He is the author of Magic in the Air: Mobile Communication and the Transformation of Social Life and Connections: Social and Cultural Studies of the Telephone in American Life, published by Transaction.

Praise for this book

"Outstanding Title! Katz (Rutgers Univ.) brings historical analogies and statistical models to bear on a particularly underresearched medium of communication... Katz's extensive research and analysis probes the impact of this old/new technology on individual, family, and corporate life. In section 2 Katz looks at related problems and controversies--namely, invasion of privacy, obscene phone calls, and gender relationships. Section 3 probes consumer attitudes toward telephone companies and the consumer's willingness to spend money on additional telephone technologies such as caller ID, voice-activated dialing, call waiting, etc. Katz's landmark study brings qualitative and quantitative data to bear on a communication medium that undoubtedly affects more people and more interpersonal and social outcomes than any other current medium but has been the least studied of all 20th-century media... [F]or graduate students and above."

--R. Cathcart, Choice

"A fine assembly of research-based observations on the complex place of the telephone in American society. James Katz's mastery of his subject shines through every chapter."

--Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

"Caller ID, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines--all reveal remarkable, often surprising sides of American behavior, analyzed expertly in Connections. James Katz shows that social science can be rigorous, relevant, and readable. A must for professionals, and a treat for those at the receiving end of our communicopia."

--Edward Tenner, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, author of "Why Things Bite Back"

"A fine assembly of research-based observations on the complex place of the telephone in American society. James Katz's mastery of his subject shines through every chapter."

--Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University"Caller ID, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines--all reveal remarkable, often surprising sides of American behavior, analyzed expertly in Connections. James Katz shows that social science can be rigorous, relevant, and readable. A must for professionals, and a treat for those at the receiving end of our communicopia."

--Edward Tenner, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, author of "Why Things Bite Back"

"A fine assembly of research-based observations on the complex place of the telephone in American society. James Katz's mastery of his subject shines through every chapter."

--Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University "Caller ID, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines--all reveal remarkable, often surprising sides of American behavior, analyzed expertly in Connections. James Katz shows that social science can be rigorous, relevant, and readable. A must for professionals, and a treat for those at the receiving end of our communicopia."

--Edward Tenner, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, author of "Why Things Bite Back"

"Outstanding Title! Katz (Rutgers Univ.) brings historical analogies and statistical models to bear on a particularly underresearched medium of communication... Katz's extensive research and analysis probes the impact of this old/new technology on individual, family, and corporate life. In section 2 Katz looks at related problems and controversies--namely, invasion of privacy, obscene phone calls, and gender relationships. Section 3 probes consumer attitudes toward telephone companies and the consumer's willingness to spend money on additional telephone technologies such as caller ID, voice-activated dialing, call waiting, etc. Katz's landmark study brings qualitative and quantitative data to bear on a communication medium that undoubtedly affects more people and more interpersonal and social outcomes than any other current medium but has been the least studied of all 20th-century media... [F]or graduate students and above."

--R. Cathcart, Choice

"A fine assembly of research-based observations on the complex place of the telephone in American society. James Katz's mastery of his subject shines through every chapter."

--Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

"Caller ID, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines--all reveal remarkable, often surprising sides of American behavior, analyzed expertly in Connections. James Katz shows that social science can be rigorous, relevant, and readable. A must for professionals, and a treat for those at the receiving end of our communicopia."

--Edward Tenner, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, author of Why Things Bite Back

"While many speculate about how people are adjusting to a new environment of cell phones and instant messaging, few, if any, are studying the process as closely as James Katz. In this book, Katz brings together his careful research and illuminates the ways that Americans are confronting the opportunities and dangers of a wired world."

--Claude Fischer, professor of sociology, University of California, Berkeley

"Connections provides a sophisticated analysis of a complex but vitally important subject: the social nature of modern communication technology. Katz makes careful use of quantitative and qualitative data to present a well-grounded view of what people think about the new technologies, how they use them, and why. Intelligent social policies start with books like this."

--Vincent Mosco, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, Ottawa

"These studies blend astute observation and quantitative data with an infectious enthusiasm for research. The telephone is ubiquitious and telephone-related topics--rather than being a narrow focus--illuminate a wide range of American life. This pioneering work begins to use the changing background of new communication technology as a remarkable research opportunity to discern what is enduring about human nature, culture, and institutions."

--Lloyd Etheredge, director, International Scientific Networks Project, Policy Sciences Center, Yale University Law School

"The telephone is usually answered but rarely questioned. Not so with this engaging and balanced inquiry in which James Katz both asks and answers questions. If not telling everything you always wanted to know about the personal, organizational and cultural aspects of the telephone, he at least tells you what you ought to know, buttressing his empirical anchors with thoughtful speculation. Essential reading for anyone concerned with the social implications of electronic communication."

--Gary T. Marx, professor emeritus, MIT; chair. Sociology Department, University of Colorado, Boulder

"James Katz has brought together an impressive collection of his own theoretically informed empirical studies of the place of the telephone in our lives. Although he is respectful of the critics, he provides a well organized and carefully considered rebuttal of most of their technophobic musings about the impact of telecommunications on American society. In addition, several of his investigations into the social demography of telecommunications use and abuse, inform important theoretical issues about the ways in which race, class and gender interact within a network of power relations. Katz's writing is accessible to the intelligent reader."

--Oscar Gandy, Jr., Herbert I. Schiller Information and Society Term Chair, The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

"Outstanding Title! Katz (Rutgers Univ.) brings historical analogies and statistical models to bear on a particularly underresearched medium of communication... Katz's extensive research and analysis probes the impact of this old/new technology on individual, family, and corporate life. In section 2 Katz looks at related problems and controversies--namely, invasion of privacy, obscene phone calls, and gender relationships. Section 3 probes consumer attitudes toward telephone companies and the consumer's willingness to spend money on additional telephone technologies such as caller ID, voice-activated dialing, call waiting, etc. Katz's landmark study brings qualitative and quantitative data to bear on a communication medium that undoubtedly affects more people and more interpersonal and social outcomes than any other current medium but has been the least studied of all 20th-century media... [F]or graduate students and above."

--R. Cathcart, Choice

"A fine assembly of research-based observations on the complex place of the telephone in American society. James Katz's mastery of his subject shines through every chapter."

--Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

"Caller ID, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines--all reveal remarkable, often surprising sides of American behavior, analyzed expertly in Connections. James Katz shows that social science can be rigorous, relevant, and readable. A must for professionals, and a treat for those at the receiving end of our communicopia."

--Edward Tenner, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, author of Why Things Bite Back

"While many speculate about how people are adjusting to a new environment of cell phones and instant messaging, few, if any, are studying the process as closely as James Katz. In this book, Katz brings together his careful research and illuminates the ways that Americans are confronting the opportunities and dangers of a wired world."

--Claude Fischer, professor of sociology, University of California, Berkeley

"Connections provides a sophisticated analysis of a complex but vitally important subject: the social nature of modern communication technology. Katz makes careful use of quantitative and qualitative data to present a well-grounded view of what people think about the new technologies, how they use them, and why. Intelligent social policies start with books like this."

--Vincent Mosco, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, Ottawa

"These studies blend astute observation and quantitative data with an infectious enthusiasm for research. The telephone is ubiquitious and telephone-related topics--rather than being a narrow focus--illuminate a wide range of American life. This pioneering work begins to use the changing background of new communication technology as a remarkable research opportunity to discern what is enduring about human nature, culture, and institutions."

--Lloyd Etheredge, director, International Scientific Networks Project, Policy Sciences Center, Yale University Law School

"The telephone is usually answered but rarely questioned. Not so with this engaging and balanced inquiry in which James Katz both asks and answers questions. If not telling everything you always wanted to know about the personal, organizational and cultural aspects of the telephone, he at least tells you what you ought to know, buttressing his empirical anchors with thoughtful speculation. Essential reading for anyone concerned with the social implications of electronic communication."

--Gary T. Marx, professor emeritus, MIT; chair. Sociology Department, University of Colorado, Boulder

"James Katz has brought together an impressive collection of his own theoretically informed empirical studies of the place of the telephone in our lives. Although he is respectful of the critics, he provides a well organized and carefully considered rebuttal of most of their technophobic musings about the impact of telecommunications on American society. In addition, several of his investigations into the social demography of telecommunications use and abuse, inform important theoretical issues about the ways in which race, class and gender interact within a network of power relations. Katz's writing is accessible to the intelligent reader."

--Oscar Gandy, Jr., Herbert I. Schiller Information and Society Term Chair, The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

-Outstanding Title! Katz (Rutgers Univ.) brings historical analogies and statistical models to bear on a particularly underresearched medium of communication... Katz's extensive research and analysis probes the impact of this old/new technology on individual, family, and corporate life. In section 2 Katz looks at related problems and controversies--namely, invasion of privacy, obscene phone calls, and gender relationships. Section 3 probes consumer attitudes toward telephone companies and the consumer's willingness to spend money on additional telephone technologies such as caller ID, voice-activated dialing, call waiting, etc. Katz's landmark study brings qualitative and quantitative data to bear on a communication medium that undoubtedly affects more people and more interpersonal and social outcomes than any other current medium but has been the least studied of all 20th-century media... [F]or graduate students and above.-

--R. Cathcart, Choice

-A fine assembly of research-based observations on the complex place of the telephone in American society. James Katz's mastery of his subject shines through every chapter.-

--Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University

-Caller ID, cellular phones, pagers, answering machines--all reveal remarkable, often surprising sides of American behavior, analyzed expertly in Connections. James Katz shows that social science can be rigorous, relevant, and readable. A must for professionals, and a treat for those at the receiving end of our communicopia.-

--Edward Tenner, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, author of Why Things Bite Back

-While many speculate about how people are adjusting to a new environment of cell phones and instant messaging, few, if any, are studying the process as closely as James Katz. In this book, Katz brings together his careful research and illuminates the ways that Americans are confronting the opportunities and dangers of a wired world.-

--Claude Fischer, professor of sociology, University of California, Berkeley

-Connections provides a sophisticated analysis of a complex but vitally important subject: the social nature of modern communication technology. Katz makes careful use of quantitative and qualitative data to present a well-grounded view of what people think about the new technologies, how they use them, and why. Intelligent social policies start with books like this.-

--Vincent Mosco, School of Journalism and Communication, Carleton University, Ottawa

-These studies blend astute observation and quantitative data with an infectious enthusiasm for research. The telephone is ubiquitious and telephone-related topics--rather than being a narrow focus--illuminate a wide range of American life. This pioneering work begins to use the changing background of new communication technology as a remarkable research opportunity to discern what is enduring about human nature, culture, and institutions.-

--Lloyd Etheredge, director, International Scientific Networks Project, Policy Sciences Center, Yale University Law School

-The telephone is usually answered but rarely questioned. Not so with this engaging and balanced inquiry in which James Katz both asks and answers questions. If not telling everything you always wanted to know about the personal, organizational and cultural aspects of the telephone, he at least tells you what you ought to know, buttressing his empirical anchors with thoughtful speculation. Essential reading for anyone concerned with the social implications of electronic communication.-

--Gary T. Marx, professor emeritus, MIT; chair. Sociology Department, University of Colorado, Boulder

-James Katz has brought together an impressive collection of his own theoretically informed empirical studies of the place of the telephone in our lives. Although he is respectful of the critics, he provides a well organized and carefully considered rebuttal of most of their technophobic musings about the impact of telecommunications on American society. In addition, several of his investigations into the social demography of telecommunications use and abuse, inform important theoretical issues about the ways in which race, class and gender interact within a network of power relations. Katz's writing is accessible to the intelligent reader.-

--Oscar Gandy, Jr., Herbert I. Schiller Information and Society Term Chair, The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania