A02 - The Culture of Telecommunication Standardisation in the Tensions of the Digital and Neoliberal ‘Double Revolution’
This project examines the interdependencies between technical development and institutional change in the period of the digital and neoliberal ‘double revolution’ around the 1980s. In the second funding period individual companies from the European IT industry (midrange computing) like Philips, Nixdorf, Olivetti or Siemag and their individual protagonists are taken into account in order to understand the interrelations between technical standardisation and market liberalisation alongside the analogue/digital threshold. Remarkably, these producers of hardware and software technologies, which had taken a continuous development of technology, media and data practices since mechanical typewriters, vanished from the markets in the 1980s. This project starts from the assumption that the standardisation culture, due to its normative categories of thinking, standardising and regulating, shaped the digitisation of European telecommunication networks and impacted midrange computing. Path dependencies had a negative effect on the production of hardware and software, even though, European producers of midrange computers remained innovative and competitive for a long time. The thesis, that Europeans were no longer innovative in the IT industry, will be questioned in the project.