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Gabriele Balbi


Gabriele Balbi is Assistant Professor in Media Studies at the Institute of Media and Journalism, Faculty of Communication Sciences, USI Università della Svizzera italiana (Switzerland). He is also director of the China Media Observatory, responsible for the "communication and media" minor at the BA level, and member of USI Senate at the same institution. Finally, he is Vice-Chair of ECREA Communication History Section.

He received a BA and MA in Communication Sciences at the University of Turin (Italy) in 2002 and 2004 and a PhD in Communication Sciences and Social History of Communication at USI in 2008. Before being appointed at USI, he has lectured and researched at Harvard University, Maastricht University, Columbia University, University of Westminster, Oxford University and Northumbria University. 

His main areas of research are media history and the history of telecommunications. He has more than 50 scientific publications (monographies, articles in relevant journals of media studies and history, book chapters) on the history of telegraph and telephone, radio, digital media, media in China, history of (winning and failed) ideas of communications, history of the International Telecommunications Union. For a broader view of research and publications:


  • Change and continuity in media history, with a focus on old/new and analog/digital technologies; 
  • Multifocal approach combining political economy of communication, STS, cultural studies;
  • National and transational dimensions of media history, with a focus on the policies of the International Telecommunication Union, the main international organization managing communications;
  • Deconstruction of media narratives in longue durée perspective; 
  • Media history in China;
  • History of Digital Media; 
  • History of winning and loosing ideas of communication in past, present and future, with a focus on media imaginary; 
  • History of media history, media history in contemporary media studies.
  • Competence areas