Media and Mediatization

”There are no realities any more, there is only apparatus”, lamented the Austrian cultural historian Egon Friedell in the late 1920s. Working during the interwar period with his three-volume cultural history, ”from the Black Death to the World War”, media modernity finally seemed to have caught up with him.The spiritual and religious spell of previous ages appeared as disenchanted – the Entzauberung der Welt, as famously diagnosed by sociologist Max Weber – where rural society and culture were replaced by urban secularization, cultural rationalization and modernized bureau- cracy. For Friedell, however, even reality gave the impression of disintegrating into a mediated dimness, with film and radio as the main perpetrators for blurring cultural hierarchies between high and low.

My article ”Media and Mediaziation” is published in The Routledge Companion to Cultural History in the Western World edited by Alessandro Arcangeli, Jörg Rogge & Hannu Salmi (London: Routledge, 2020).

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