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

Hardback
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.