SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen

A02 - The Culture of Telecommunication Standardisation in the Tensions of the Digital and Neoliberal ‘Double Revolution’ since the 1980s



Principal Investigators:

PD Dr. Christian Henrich-Franke 


Laura Elsner


The project analyses a central requirement for social and technical cooperation: the standardisation of telecommunication infrastructures. It places the interdependencies between technical development and institutional change at the scientific centre of the project. As an example it zooms in the standardisation of ISDN during the digital and neoliberal 'double-revolution' (digitalisation of technology and liberalisation of markets) since the 1980s. The project starts from the hypotheses that cultures of standardisation, which had evolved since the 19th century, shape the defining of 'digital cooperation's capability' because of technical and institutional path dependencies.






This article seeks to explore continuities in the governance of cross-border infrastructures from the interwar to the post-war period. It argues that transnational expert communities and cultures of standardisation emerged, which the infrastructure experts were keen to protect and persist. The article compares transport and communication to isolate common patterns and differences.

Henrich-Franke, C. (2018). Comparing Cultures of Expert Regulation: Governing Cross-Border Infrastructures. Contemporary European History27(2), 280–300.