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The Media, Modernity and Enlightenment Roddy Flynn.

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1 The Media, Modernity and Enlightenment Roddy Flynn

2 Media as an industry and the concept of modernity are fundamentally interlinked Term "Modernity" must be treated with some caution Positive interpretation of “modern” quite recent

3 Postmodernism - term used to describe a society pervaded by the idea of ceaseless development, progress and dynamic change Term “postmodernism” also reflects perceived failure of the modernist project

4 Political Modernity Dominance of secular forms of political power, conceptions of sovereign and legitimacy, nation-states with defined territorial boundaries.

5 Economic Modernity Money based economy based on large- scale production and consumption of commodities for the market, extensive ownership of private property

6 Social Modernity Decline of fixed (feudal) social order with its established hierarchies - replaced by new social (class) and sexual (patriarchy) division of labour.

7 Cultural Modernity Decline of religious world view typical of traditional societies - rise of secular culture - individualist, rationalist and instrumentalist. But also: The construction of “imagined communities” - nations and nationality.

8 Modernity & Enlightenment All of these changes in part made possible by the emergence of a new way of thinking that peaks in the 18th century - The Enlightenment A new way of thinking - Critical rationalism - applied reason to social, political and economic issues with concern for progress, emancipation and improvement and is thus critical of the status quo

9 A paradigm or set of Enlightenment ideas: Reason - means of organising knowledge. The process of rational thought. Empiricism - the idea that all knowledge is based on empirical facts that humans can understand through their five senses. Science - notion that scientific knowledge was the key to expanding all human knowledge.

10 A paradigm or set of Enlightenment ideas: Universalism - reason and science could be applied anywhere using the same set of principles. Science produced general laws which governed the entire universe. Progress - the application of science and reason would bring an ever increasing level of happiness and well-being Individualism - individuals are the starting point for all knowledge,and that individual reason cannot be subjected to a higher authority.

11 A paradigm or set of Enlightenment ideas: Toleration - all human beings, regardless of race or creed, are the same. Freedom - opposition to feudal/traditional restraints on behaviour. Uniformity of human nature - all human nature essentially the same. Secularism - opposition to religious authority, stress on need for secular knowledge to be free of religious orthodoxy.

12 What was the Enlightenment? 1. A paradigm (bundle) or ideas. A belief system, world-view or Zeitgeist 2. An intellectual movement, a network of intellectuals clustered in Paris, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London 3. A publishing industry and an audience for its output

13 What was the Enlightenment? The Enlightenment was the creation of a new framework of ideas about man, society and nature which challenged existing conceptions rooted in the traditional worldview dominated by Christianity

14 “Who” was the Enlightenment The Philosophes: "a man of letters who is also a free-thinker". Key Figures: Newton, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau.

15 Why does the Enlightenment occur? The Enlightenment - a rebellion against a traditional form of knowledge based on religious authority. Pre-Enlightenment, Church controlled media and the dissemination of information Challenged by: Discoveries of Kepler, Copernicus and Galileo in the 16th & 17th centuries; Accounts of distant and exotic societies from travellers Created - empirical and scientific base from which to challenge religious worldview

16 Political Impact of Enlightenment The Enlightement undermines claim to power by absolute monarch which was based on the "divine right of kings" - the position of king as ruler ordained by God. Absolutism undermined - replaced by notion of social contract between ruler and ruled

17 Political Impact of Enlightenment Although critical of traditional authority, the self-interest of philosophes ensured they were not as subversive as they might have been.

18 Enlightenment, Science and Progress 18th century Science (esp. Newton ) promised increasing control over a previously hostile natural environment. Enlightenment thinkers believed that scientific method (through an emerging science of society or sociology) might all them to rationally determine and improve the shape of society.

19 Enlightenment, Science and Progress Belief in progress and change through the application of reason represent shift in world-view Society and nature would yield to the application of human intelligence. Innovation, previously a term of abuse became a word of praise.

20 The Communication of the Enlightenment Enlightenment creates secular intelligentsia, with social/cultural base independent of traditional institutions (esp. the Church) Also represents change in creation/ dissemination of ideas: - through new institutions such as scientific academies, learned journals and conferences. Discovers new audience for social, political, philosophical and scientific ideas

21 The Communication of the Enlightenment Sees explosion of new forms of communication E.g. France - Between number of journals on literary matter, news, art, science etc. grows from 22 to 79.

22 The Communication of the Enlightenment Potentially large audience limited by a) cost of subscription b) limited availability of the cultural education necessay to understand/partake in the debates about new ideas. Aided by post 1750 growth in subscription libraries

23 US/French Revolutions Thresholds between traditional and modern society US constitution enshrined several central Enlightenment precepts: uniformity of human nature, tolerance, freedom of thought and expression

24 US/French Revolutions Influence of Enlightenment on French Rev: Introduction of civil law, Parliamentary control of taxation, Individual and press liberties, Religious tolerance, Wholesale ending of feudal laws and obligations


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