Abstract

The hobby of amateur radio-communicating by wireless with individuals around the world-focused on technology. At the same time, however, it served important social functions in the lives of participants. This article analyzes hobbyists' rhetoric about family life and household space to document how men operating "ham" radios in mid-twentieth century America altered the social geography of middle-class homes. During a postwar period of sexual identity anxiety and when women controlled domestic environments, ham radio strengthened men's claims on masculinity and privacy. Amateur radio operators developed a distinct technical identity, based in personal identity and material culture, that allowed them to simultaneously achieve social and spatial distance.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1097-3729
Print ISSN
0040-165X
Pages
pp. 734-761
Launched on MUSE
2003-12-10
Open Access
No
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