Communication and Empire

9780822339120: Hardback
Release Date: 17th July 2007

9780822339281: Paperback
Release Date: 17th July 2007

25 illustrations, 13 tables, 10 maps

Dimensions: 156 x 235

Number of Pages: 456

Series American Encounters/Global Interactions

Duke University Press Books

Communication and Empire

Media, Markets, and Globalization, 1860–1930

Hardback / £99.00
Paperback / £25.99

Filling in a key chapter in communications history, Dwayne R. Winseck and Robert M. Pike offer an in-depth examination of the rise of the “global media” between 1860 and 1930. They analyze the connections between the development of a global communication infrastructure, the creation of national telegraph and wireless systems, and news agencies and the content they provided. Conventional histories suggest that the growth of global communications correlated with imperial expansion: an increasing number of cables were laid as colonial powers competed for control of resources. Winseck and Pike argue that the role of the imperial contest, while significant, has been exaggerated. They emphasize how much of the global media system was in place before the high tide of imperialism in the early twentieth century, and they point to other factors that drove the proliferation of global media links, including economic booms and busts, initial steps toward multilateralism and international law, and the formation of corporate cartels.

Drawing on extensive research in corporate and government archives, Winseck and Pike illuminate the actions of companies and cartels during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, in many different parts of the globe, including Africa, Asia, and Central and South America as well as Europe and North America. The complex history they relate shows how cable companies exploited or transcended national policies in the creation of the global cable network, how private corporations and government agencies interacted, and how individual reformers fought to eliminate cartels and harmonize the regulation of world communications. In Communication and Empire, the multinational conglomerates, regulations, and the politics of imperialism and anti-imperialism as well as the cries for reform of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth emerge as the obvious forerunners of today’s global media.

About the Series ix
Illustrations xi
Tables xiii
Preface and Acknowledgments xv
Introduction: Deep Globalization and the Global Media in the Late Nineteenth Century and Early Twentieth 1
1. Building the Global Communication Infrastructure: Brakes and Accelerators on New Communication Technologies, 1850-70 16
2. From the gilded Age to the Progressive Era: The Struggle for Control in the Euro-America and South American Communication Markets, 1870-1905 43
3. Indo-European Communication Markets and the Scrambling of Africa: Communication and Empire in the “Age of Disorder” 92
4. Electronic Kingdom and Wired Cities in the “Age of Disorder”: The Struggle for Control of China’s National and Global Communication Capabilities, 1870-1901 113
5. The Politics of Global Media Reform I, 1870-1905: The Early Movements against Private Cable Monopolies 142
6. The Politics of global Media Reform II, 1906-16: Rivalry and Managed Competition in the Age of Empire(s) and Social Reform 177
7. Wireless, War, and Communication Networks, 1914-22 228
Thick and Thin Globalism: Wilson, the Communication Experts, and the American Approach to Global Communication, 1918-22 257
9. Communication and Informal Empires: Consortia and the Evolution of South American and Asian Communication Markets, 1918-30 277
10. The Euro-American Communication Market and Media Merger Mania: New Technology and the Political Economy of Communication in the 1920s 304
Conclusions: The Moving Forces of the Early Global Media 338
Notes 347
Bibliography 370
Index 403

Dwayne R. Winseck is Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. He is the author of Reconvergence: A Political Economy of Telecommunications in Canada and a coeditor of Democratizing Communication? Comparative Perspectives on Information and Power and Media in Global Context.

Robert M. Pike is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is the author of many articles on the history of communications.

“I know of no other recent work that comes close to this one in sweep, detail, and complexity, yet is so compellingly relevant to our present times. Dwayne R. Winseck and Robert M. Pike have done a masterful job unraveling a tortuously complex and fragmented narrative of the rivalries, alliances, ambitions, and subterfuges in which the cable companies of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries engaged.”—Oliver Boyd-Barrett, editor of Communications Media, Globalization, and Empire

“The central arguments of Communication and Empire—that the ‘empire of capital’ is not coterminous with imperialism, and that many of the central features of the contemporary global communications system have their roots in the period of global commercial expansion before the high tide of imperialism—are both important and timely, and are supported with a wealth of original firsthand empirical material.”—Graham Murdock, editor of The Political Economy of the Media

Communication and Empire offers a noteworthy overview of the development of global communications systems prior to the Great Depression. . . . A groundbreaking analysis of the connections between private communications firms and broader issues of global development.”

Benjamin Schwantes
Enterprise & Society

“[T]he great strength of this book is its exacting elaboration of so many additional vectors, which together comprise first-wave globalization of instructive complexity. If the core of the book is a global industry history that joins hardware (the cables) and ‘content’ (the wire services), the book is also attentive to political and diplomatic history. Readers will no doubt see striking parallels—even continuities—between the global media system that Winseck and Pike describe and the one we know today.”

Lisa Gitelman
American Historical Review