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From enthusiasm to practice : users, systems, and technology in high-end audio

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dc.contributor.advisor David Kaiser. en_US
dc.contributor.author Downes, Kieran en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2009-12-10T19:13:59Z
dc.date.available 2009-12-10T19:13:59Z
dc.date.copyright 2009 en_US
dc.date.issued 2009 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/50110
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D. in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS))--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Science, Technology and Society, 2009. en_US
dc.description Page 414 blank. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 401-413). en_US
dc.description.abstract This is a story about technology, users, and music. It is about an approach to the design, manipulation, and arrangement of technologies in small-scale systems to achieve particular aesthetic goals - goals that are at once subjective and contingent. These goals emerge from enthusiasm for technology, for system-building, and for music among members of a community of users, and the promise of the emotional rewards derived from these elements in combination. It is a story about how enthusiasm and passion become practice, and how particular technologies, system-building activities, listening, debating, innovating, and interacting form that practice. Using both historical and ethnographic research methods, including fieldwork and oral history interviews, this dissertation is focused on how and why user communities mobilize around particular technologies and socio-technical systems. In particular, it concerns how users' aesthetic sensibilities and enthusiasm for technology can shape both technologies themselves and the processes of technological innovation. These issues are explored through a study of the small but enthusiastic high-end audio community in the United States. These users express needs, desires, and aesthetic motivations towards technology that set them apart from mainstream consumers, but also reveal important and under-recognized aspects of human relationships with technology more broadly. Covering the emergence and growth of high-end audio from the early 1970s to 2000, I trace some of the major technology transitions during this period and their associated social elements, including the shift from vacuum tube to solid-state electronics in the 1970s, and from analog vinyl records to digital compact discs in the 1980s. I show how this community came to understand technology, science, and their own social behavior through powerful emotional and aesthetic responses to music and the technologies used to reproduce music in the home. I further show how focusing on technology's users can recast assumptions about the ingredients and conditions necessary to foster technological innovation. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Kieran Downes. en_US
dc.format.extent 414 p. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582 en_US
dc.subject Program in Science, Technology and Society. en_US
dc.title From enthusiasm to practice : users, systems, and technology in high-end audio en_US
dc.title.alternative Users, systems, and technology in high-end audio en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Ph.D.in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Program in Science, Technology and Society. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 463455170 en_US


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