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Hierarchy, division and filing cabinets at the dawn of the information age.


The filing cabinet emerges at this moment where capitalism takes on a vertical bias - that comes through in the idea of vertical integration, but also the emergence of the management hierarchy and the corporate ladder. Organization becomes understood as hierarchical, and that helps the development of a particular understanding of the value of information that is linked to the dominant values of capitalism.

Media studies scholar Craig Robertson on the filing cabinet's work at the dawn of 20th century capitalism, the consequences of a logic centered around division and efficiency, and his book The Filing Cabinet: A Vertical History of Information from University of Minnesota Press.

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Craig Robertson

Craig Robertson is associate professor of media studies at Northeastern University.


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