Divine and Diabolic Radio: Electromagnetic Spectrum, Aesthetics and Latin America

Lara, Paulo José Olivier Moreira. 2021. Divine and Diabolic Radio: Electromagnetic Spectrum, Aesthetics and Latin America. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This work investigates the idea of wireless communication and the construction of the
electromagnetic spectrum from a perspective of the Latin American cultural studies and Radio
studies. Demonstrating that the wireless forms of expression have had socio-historical particularities
and different socio-political manifestations through time, I identify diverse forms, functions and
qualities that were given to the spectrum in order to understand what sort of political influence is
exerted by the rational organization of radio waves. The hypothesis presented here is that the
current control over the wireless infrastructure should be characterised in terms of an aesthetic
domination of colonial sort. As the “birth” of the spectrum is found in the “baroque” sciences of the
sixteenth century, I also note the radical shift that the notion took with the emergence of industrial
capitalism, its technical instrumentality and political economy, arguing that the modern uses and
interpretations of wireless media is grounded in colonial conflicts over aesthetic sovereignty and
natural resources beyond the disputes over standard regulations, democratic allocation, freedom of
expression, access to technology and technical management. Through the study of three experiences
of radio in Latin America, I highlight the aspects of interference, illegality, colonial discipline and
the control of the territory as manners by which the coloniality of power is expressed within the
radio universe. The contribution that this work intends to offer to the areas of media studies, politics
and cultural studies is to establish a relationship between the history of the idea (in this case, the
construction of order, function and quality) of the electromagnetic spectrum and its impact on the
solidification of a domination of modern and colonial kind based on the study of the phenomenon
of radio waves and their uses applied for communication and expression in determined Latin
American social realities.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00030315

Keywords:

Radio; Sociology of Technology; Electromagnetic Spectrum; Latin American Studies; Media Studies; Culture and Technology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics

Date:

28 February 2021

Item ID:

30315

Date Deposited:

12 Jul 2021 15:49

Last Modified:

12 Jul 2021 16:21

URI:

https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/30315

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