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This book focuses on the history of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), from its origins in the mid-19th century to nowadays. ITU was the first international organization ever and still plays a crucial role in managing global telecommunications today. Putting together some of the most relevant scholars in the field of transnational communications, the book covers the history of ITU from 1865 to digital times in a truly global perspective, taking into account several technologies like the telegraph, the telephone, cables, wireless, radio, television, satellites, mobile phone, the internet and others. The main goal is to identify the long-term strategies of regulation and the techno-diplomatic manoeuvres taken inside ITU, from convincing the majority of the nations to establish the official seat of the Telegraph Union bureau in Switzerland in the 1860s, to contrasting the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance (supported by US and ICANN).
History of the International Telecommunication Union is a trans-disciplinary text and can be interesting for scholars and students in the fields of telecommunications, media, international organizations, transnational communication, diplomacy, political economy of communication, STS, and others. It has the ambition to become a reference point in the history of ITU and, at the same time, just the fi rst comprehensive step towards a longer, inter-technological, political and cultural history of transnational communications to be written in the future.
Gabriele Balbi, USI, Università della Svizzera italiana
Andreas Fickers, University of Luxembourg
"Balbi’s and Fickers’ book not only offers new international perspectives on the global history of “techno-diplomacy” – an area of historiography at the intersection of the history of diplomacy and of technology that has so far opened up interesting new transnational prospects primarily on Europe.It also helps closing a surprising gap in the burgeoning field of the history of international organisations. Finally, it presents a highly instructive example that the history of communication technology goes much further back in time and is much more political than we tend to assume." Jan-Henrik Meyer, Max-Planck-Institut für Rechtsgeschichte und Rechtstheorie, in: https://www.hsozkult.de/review/id/reb-29489?title=g-balbi-u-a-hrsg-history-of-the-international-telecommunication-union
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