Remote Control: A Cultural History

Matthew Corn
Kristen Heflin, Kennesaw State University


This study provides a cultural-historical analysis of remote control in three stages. In the early 20th century, remote control first emerged as the extension of individual intention across geographic space. Later, remote control became articulated to shifting geopolitical contexts, which placed in tension the reliability and security of the connection between the individual and the outcome. In more recent years, remote control has been articulated as both a geopolitical threat and a domestic blessing. As a result, this study demonstrates the complexity of the concept of remote control and the utility of a cultural historical approach for understanding the mutual constitution of technologies and culture.