Playing Second Fiddle: A history of technology and organisation in the Australian music economy (1901-1990)

Rooney, David (1997). Playing Second Fiddle: A history of technology and organisation in the Australian music economy (1901-1990) PhD Thesis, Humanities, Griffith University.

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Author Rooney, David
Thesis Title Playing Second Fiddle: A history of technology and organisation in the Australian music economy (1901-1990)
School, Centre or Institute Humanities
Institution Griffith University
Publication date 1997-01-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Subjects 430101 History - Australian
410199 Performing Arts not elsewhere classified
359999 Other Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
340301 Economic History
220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts - General
420399 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
370601 History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
370602 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
350299 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
Abstract/Summary This thesis is a socio-economic history of the relationship between music technology and organisational practices in twentieth-century Australia. It argues that the history of technology in the Australian music economy is dependent not only upon the changing technical characteristics of musical instruments and electronic consumer goods but also upon government policy-making, management practices in music technology manufacturing firms and patterns of music technology consumption. The thesis examines economic statistics regarding the import, export and local production of music technology in Australia. The economic statistics have not previously been examined in relation to the history of music technology in Australia. The historical analysis is structured according to a four-part periodisation which includes the Electric Age (1901-1930), the Electronic Age (1930-1950), the Transistor Age (1950-1970) and the Information Age (1970-1990). This periodisation enables the analysis to continually be refocussed as the key technological and socio-economic dynamics change. With this perspective, the history of the relationship between technology and organisation in the Australian music economy has been demonstrated to be dependent on a number of key technological changes. The thesis examines changes including the shift from acoustic to electric recording; the development of transistor-based consumer electronics goods; and the advent of digital information technology. However, a number of key social determinants, particularly organisational modes, are examined including changes from protectionist to more deregulated trade policy; lack of business skills in areas such as marketing, manufacturing technique and industrial research and development; and the development of a sense of popular modernity which is expressed in the consumption of new, technically advanced and glamorous music technology. In addition to the new perspectives on the history of music technology provided by the analysis of empirical economic data, this thesis contributes to the historiography of technology. The analytical framework it proposes locates music technology within what is described as an assemblage of technologies: technologies of production, technologies of sign systems, technologies of power and technologies of the self. This approach makes clear the interdependence of technological and social factors, and the inadequacy of narrow technological determinist and social constructivist accounts. The notion of an assemblage of technologies is further embellished by drawing upon key elements of recent theories of systems analysis: the seamless web, evolution and chaos theory. Through this analytical framework and the socio-economic analysis of the relationship between music technology and organisational practices, the thesis demonstrates that the history of technology cannot be understood unless it is seen as part of a complex and interacting technical, social, economic and institutional system.
Keyword Australian history
technology
music industry
history of technology
technological change

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses Collection (RHD) - Open Access
 
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Created: Tue, 30 Mar 2004, 10:00:00 EST by David Rooney on behalf of UQ Business School