Mainframing America: Computers, Federal Systems, and the Governmental Origins of the U.S. Information Society, 1940-1985

McGee, Andrew, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Balogh, Brian, Department of History, University of Virginia

Mainframe computers changed how the United States government operated in the post-World War II period by routinizing in the form of information technology-centric language and behavior new administrative practices that prioritized flows of data as components of the policy process. The computer fundamentally altered the operating environment in which information intended for purposes of governing was collected, disseminated, interpreted, and utilized as part of the policy design process. As the funnel through which an increasingly assertive information state approached the definition of policy, the computer system structured the conditions around which the post-WWII domestic state operated. A political history of the computer, “Mainframing America” explores this tendency through examination of the intersection of information technology and the American administrative state of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
US History, Computers, Political Development
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