In 2011, a group of communications students at the University of Alberta conducted a study of telephone communications and civic identity in Edmonton for the graduate course COMM 505: Using and Managing Communications Technologies. The Telephone Historical Centre was consulted during research of the paper and worked in cooperation with Judith Dyck to present a portion of the paper on our website.
The Telephone Historical Centre would like to recognize the writers of this paper (Judith Dyck, Crystal Carwin Lee, Melissa Myskiw, and Teresa Sturgess) for their exploration of Edmonton’s communication history and for allowing this fascinating study to be shared. Below is the abstract of the paper titled “The Role of the Telephone in Edmonton as an Expression of Civic Identity.” For more information about this interesting paper, please contact the museum.
“Post-war Edmonton experienced a surge in population and economic growth. Everywhere there was a palpable hunger for connectedness and respect from the world outside its boundaries. The telephone emerged as a symbol of civic desire to be recognized as a society with its face to the future and a respected player in the larger provincial, national and international milieu. Its role as a source of civic pride and enabler of economic and social growth had its roots in the introduction of the telegraph and, in quick succession, the telephone. Using secondary orality as a theoretical lens underscores the role of the telephone in engendering and fostering a civic self consciousness and programmatic group mindedness within an emerging community (Ong, 2011, p. 54). Secondly, Winston’s theory of technological innovation, diffusion and suppression helps inform a historical analysis that draws out a pattern where the desire for connectedness was confronted with political and economic dismissal, which then was met with local innovation to overcome the obstacles (1998). Edmontonians recognized the significance and utility of the telephone as a means of economic and social growth and used the leverage of the municipal government to further their aspirations. They continue to demonstrate civic pride, a hunger for connectedness and a willingness to use communication mediums like the internet to further their aspirations.”
The following publications were referenced in the above excerpt: