Making Social Change Happen
This introductory chapter details the story of the passage of the G.I. Bill, revealing how an adaptive grassroots network utilized all the media technologies available to it at the time in creative ways—from the mail and the telegraph to the radio and the cinema—to promote a positive, inclusive message and bring about social change. Innovation in communications technologies created an opportunity for the American Legion; it had at its disposal a vast array of tools to not just communicate with but also coordinate the efforts of its vast network of local chapters to promote adoption of the program. This connection between communications technology and a social movement is not accidental. U.S. history reveals the deep relationship between social change and innovation in the means of communication. Thus, this book examines the link between, on the one hand, innovations in communications technology and methods and, on the other, social movements that appear to have emerged in their wake. It also identifies the components of the successes and failures of these same movements that seem to have a symbiotic relationship to the technology that fuels them.
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