Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Revolutionary Revolution

In chapter two something that stood out was Paul Starr's emphasis on the importance of the British choices on the development of colonial media. Gutenberg's key inventions, the printing press and movable type are always mentioned as spurring on a revolution that would change the way information was distributed. Starr however touts other factors as to why a technology becomes influential. One is how it is utilized and the effect that the created technology has on the Public Sphere. This means that the creation of the printing press was not as revolutionary as its name suggest since the printing press did not bring about much of a change in the systematic dissemination of information. Those who did not have access to books were not all of a sudden in a world of knowledge. However hundreds of years after the "printing revolution" a new revolutionary type of revolution was sprouting. Britain's economic issues brought about the enactment of the stamp act which stir the pot of colonial emotions quickly igniting and uniting anti-British sentiment.
Colonial newspapers found themselves in a frenzy to voice there descent. As Paul Starr would put it "The Stamp act crisis led to the first inter colonial cooperation against the British as well as the first newspaper campaign against them". This is an example of what Paul Starr would call a "constitutive choice". In this instance the British needed to generate income after the French Indian war. This action of the British would have huge ramifications for American media. As a result the precedent for the utilization of media against the British was established. Soon enough other forms of media like pamphlets would seek to put British rule in its cross hair. Now media was a source that provided the foundation for Americanization. For if American newspapers created unity in anti-British sentiment it would not take long before newspapers would create unity in other issues like tradition, government, and domestic customs. These were the seeds of the american revolution as well as the seeds of Americanization.


At 11:28 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good substantial post. Try to use shorter paragraphs.

You are correct. Starr is not a technological determinist. Politics and economics create the conditions in which media systems emerge, technologies develop.

The conflict between British power and colonial interests created an inevitable struggle for control of the colonial media. The Stamp Act is a primary example of this conflict. The rebels understood the importance of freedom of the press.


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