Cellular Phones, Public Fears, and a Culture of Precaution

Cellular Phones, Public Fears, And A Culture Of Precaution

by Adam Burgess
3.71 of 5 Votes: 4
301 Pages
Cambridge University Press , 2004
Cambridge University Press
This is the first account of the health panic surrounding cellular phones that developed in the mid-1990s. Treating the issue as more 'social construction' than evident scientific problem, it tells the story of how this originally American anxiety diffused internationally, having an even bigger impact in countries such as Italy. Burgess highlights the contrasting reactions to the issue ranging from positive indifference in Finland to those such as the UK where precautionary measures were taken. These differences are located within the emergence of a precautionary culture driven by institutional insecurity that first appeared in the US and is now most evident in Europe. Anxieties about cell phone radiowaves are also situated historically in the very different reactions to technologies such as x-rays and in the more similar 'microwave suspicions' about television. In addition, Burgess outlines a history and sociology of what is, despite media-driven anxieties, a spectacularly successful device.

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