Recent scholarship has challenged this view. My comment will highlight this scholarship, in an effort to propose a different approach to media history--an approach that locates media institutions in the political economy in which they operated. (I define “political economy” in a commonsense way to embrace the rules of the game for network providers.) While much of this scholarship has focused on the United States, it has drawn imaginatively on the burgeoning literature on related topics for other countries--including Great Britain, France, and Canada.
This approach has implications for present-day debates over the regulation of the internet, since economic and technological arguments remain influential among policymakers. Among the historians whose scholarship I will touch on are Robert MacDougall, Christopher Beauchamp, Carolyn Cooper, Christine MacLeod, Zorina Khan, Catherine Bertho-Lavenir, and myself.
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