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The rise of a reading public




The line of development of the media audience was based on a new invention Ч the printed book Ч and along with it the phenomenon of a reading public. The printing of books, starting in the mid-fifteenth century, gradually led to an organized arrangement for the supply of non-religious written texts which could be bought by individuals and were used for practical purposes as well as for instruction, entertainment and enlightenment. Only by the late sixteenth century does it make much sense to speak of a reading public in the sense of a set of individuals keen and able to buy, read and collect books for their private purposes. Such publics were localized in cities and states, limited by social class and language (although served by translations), and supplied by a growing number of printer-publishers and authors, sometimes supported by sponsors and patrons.

Within a larger literary cultural institution, the reading public became identifiable as those who could and did read books and followed the work of particular authors or on particular subjects. Its emergence was a very gradual and slow process, extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The book was not the only print form involved, since from at least the early eighteenth century many periodical magazines and newspapers were also likely to have a regular following. The print media industry was large and ramifying and also in many places the object of censorship or control. In advance of the nineteenth-century inventions which made printed media products cheap and plentiful, the reading public or audience for printed matter was already subject to a variety of divisions and social definitions, especially with reference to content (genres) and social categories of reader.

The use of the term 'audience' to refer to these different sets of readers, with its implication of shared social and mental space, is not so inappropriate, even if the boundaries of physical space were largely broken. It was possible to belong to an 'audience' (a circle of listeners) for a certain author or for a particular topic or set of ideas without belonging physically to a particular social group or being in a particular place (the city, for instance).

This view of the early audience was soon made obsolete by a series of changes of technology and society, especially by the great increase in urban population, improved land communications and increasing literacy, together with other social and economic changes which had, by the end of the nineteenth century, transformed the rather small world of book and periodical production into large-scale industries serving millions. These media industries sought to recruit and shape audiences according to their own plans and interests. In tum this helped to establish the concept of the audience as an aggregate defined by its preferences and social-economic standing and also as a paying public Ч a new consumer market.

 

 

Marriage

The nature of marriage

 

Quite apart from its abstract meaning as the social institution of marriage, "marriage" has two distinct meanings: the ceremony by which a man and woman become husband and wife or the act of marrying, and the relationship existing between a husband and his wife or the state of being married 1. This distinction largely corresponds with its dual aspect of contract and status.

Marriage as a Contract.- In English law at least, marriage is an agreement by which a man and woman enter into a certain legal relationship with each other and which creates and imposes mutual rights and duties. Looked at from this point of view, marriage is clearly a contract. It presents similar problems to other contractsЧfor example, of form and capacity; and like other contracts it may be void or voidable. But it is, of course, quite unlike any commercial contract, and consequently it is sui generis in many respects. In particular we may note the following marked dissimilarities:

Ј the law relating to the capacity to marry is quite different from that of any other contract.

Ј a marriage may only be contracted if special formalities are carried out.

Ј the grounds on which a marriage may be void or voidable are for the most part completely different from those on which other contracts may be void or voidable.

Ј unlike other voidable contracts, a voidable marriage cannot be declared void ab initio by repudiation by one of the parties but may be set aside only by a decree of nullity pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Ј a contract of marriage cannot be discharged by agreement, frustration or breach. Apart from death, it can be terminated only by a formal legal act, usually a decree of dissolution (or divorce) pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Marriage as Creating Status. ЧThis second aspect of marriage is much more important than its first. It creates a status, that is, "the condition of belonging to a particular class of persons [i.e., married persons] to whom the law assigns certain peculiar legal capacities or incapacities" 1.

In the first place, whereas the parties to a commercial agreement may make such terms as they think fit (provided that they do not offend against rules of public policy or statutory prohibition), the spouses' mutual rights and duties are very largely fixed by law and not by agreement. Some of these may be varied by consent; for example, the spouses may release each other from the duty to cohabit. But many may not be altered; thus the wife may not contract out of her power to apply to the court for financial provision in the event of divorce.

Secondly, unlike a commercial contract, which cannot affect the legal position of anyone who is not a party to it, marriage may also affect the rights and duties of third persons. Thus a husband has an action against anyone who by committing a tort against the wife thereby deprives him of her consortium, and it is not open to the tortfeasor to argue that the marriage is res inter alios acta.

Definition of Marriage.Ч The classic definition of marriage in English law is that of Lord Penzance in Hyde v. Hyde [6].

"1 conceive that marriage, as understood in Christendom, may... be defined as the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others."

It will be seen that this definition involves four conditions.

First, the marriage must be voluntary. Thus, as we shall see[7], it can be annulled if there was no true consent on the part of one of the parties.

Secondly, it must be for life. If by marriage "as understood in Christendom" Lord Penzance was referring to the view traditionally taken in Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church and some other denominations, his statement is of course unexceptionable. But it does not mean that by English law marriage is indissoluble: divorce by judicial process had been possible in England for over eight years when Hyde v. Hyde was decided. The gloss put on the dictum by the Court of Appeal in

Nachimson v. Nachimson [8] Чthat it must be the parties' intention when they enter into the marriage that it should last for lifeЧis unsatisfactory. If, say, two people enter into a marriage for the sole purpose of enabling a child to be born legitimate, intending never to live together but to obtain a divorce by consent at the earliest opportunity, it cannot be doubted that their union is a marriage by English law. The only interpretation that can be put on Lord Penzance's statement is that the marriage must last for life unless it is previously determined by a decree or some other act of dissolution[9]. If one may draw an analogy (perhaps not very happy) from the law of real property, marriage must resemble a determinable life interest rather than a term of years absolute.

Thirdly, the union must be heterosexual.

Fourthly, it must be monogamous. Neither spouse may contract another marriage so long as the original union subsists.

Travel

 

Leaving aside the obvious about A-to-B and wheels versus wings, the defining development of travel today is that the sheer volume of travelers, combined with the extraordinary amount of choice in terms of how to travel, means that there is a lot more to travel than simply getting somewhere. Now more than ever, most forms of travel involve a certain degree of self-definition - travelers have to decide just what kind of experience they want, or what kind of people they want to be for the duration of the journey.

Only an airline could get away with the blunt assertion that homo traveler comes in no more than three varieties (First, Business, and Economy). The most casual glance around any airplane will instantly show that the distinction is misleading. The back end of an airplane is as full of people traveling to make their living as the front end is full of business people taking it easy and living it up. The difference in pricing on airplane seats alone can mean that a full-fare, front-of plane passenger is spending ten times as much as a more parsimonious fellow-passenger seated somewhat nearer the tail fin. Of course, more often than not the "choice" in that case comes down to whether the individual or the company is paying; but even then there is a surprising degree of personal choice, otherwise the frequent-flyer program (FFP) would never have been invented. FFPs are an elegant form of bribery, and like most forms of bribery are intended to ensure that individuals do something they would otherwise not have done - in this case, stay loyal to one airline. To cynics, the very existence of FFPs is proof that there are better deals to be done on other airlines. Indeed, the advent of no-frills airlines shows that even business flyers are prepared to forgo their Air Miles, along with seat numbers and individual non-dairy creamer sachets, when the alternative is cheap, no-fuss flying.

A growing number of business people are eschewing the airplane altogether in favor of the new generation of high-speed trains that may have similar total journey times, but that allow a traveler to spend more of that time seated in front of a table on which a laptop actually fits. Even the hub system, the backbone of US and transatlantic flying, is being challenged by the advent of newer airlines, smaller regional airports, and Boeing's dream of smaller, faster, direct-flying airplanes called sonic cruisers. Millionaire Dennis Tito has gone one stage further in the redefinition of air travel by making space a destination for the fare-paying tourist. As fast as one branch of travel pushes into the new millennium in the Olympian search for further, faster, higher, so another kind of tourism grows, looking for a slower and more sedate means of pottering around the planet. Hence the flourishing cruise-ship culture, and even the reappearance of Zeppelins over Germany (currently offering pleasure jaunts over Lake Constance).

Meanwhile, back on earth, travelers with their feet on the ground are becoming increasingly aware that their passage through countries and countryside is achieved at the cost of a huge impact on the environment and on local culture. Historically one of the most fundamental arguments about the definition of travel has been the distinction between the traveler and the tourist. Travelers have always seen themselves as occupying the high ground here: the traveler being a more noble creature, heroic even, while the tourist is a herd animal and the result of a human form of mass production spewed from the maw of a giant industry (one of the world's biggest). In practice the line between traveler and tourist often seems to come down to the fact that other people are tourists and we ourselves are of course travelers.

One line of thought is that travelers are those who go to foreign lands or locations with a view to enjoying and even immersing themselves in their foreignness. Tourists, on the other hand, are looking for a change of scenery but expect to take their own familiar world with them, complete with its culture and creature comforts. It's an attractive definition, but one that fails to explain business travel. One of the defining hallmarks of business travel as an industry is its apparent dedication to cushioning the traveler not only from his or her surroundings, but also from fellow travelers and certainly, heaven help us, from the tourists. Incidentally, it's a curious fact, but never, and I mean never, do we hear of "business tourism," despite the number of conferences in any industry you care to choose that take place each year in Hawaii, Bangkok, or Bermuda, although companies' headquarters and management are based in Idaho or Ireland.

All of that is changing, however, as concepts such as adventure tourism and ecotourism come to the fore.

Adventure and activity tourism have arisen in response to the growing desire for travel to involve more than sun, sea, sand, and shopping. Today's travelers are scarcely content unless they are given the opportunity to windsurf, hike up hills, submerge themselves in scuba diving, or kayak till they drop. Once travelers visited such spots as Merida, Venezuela simply to see the Andes. Now Merida has been transformed into an adventure base where rock climbing, paragliding, mountain biking, and horse riding have shouldered their way on to the tourist agenda and into the local economy.

The Earth Summits at Rio and Kyoto have monopolized the news agenda. There is growing awareness of the fragility of the globe we trot, and individuals and industry alike are waking up to the need for tourism to be sustainable if we are to continue to enjoy travel in ten or twenty years' time. Ecotourism and ecotravel (the two words are used pretty much synonymously) is perhaps the clearest example of the way in which travel is now as much about self-definition as it is about transportation. In particular, ecotourism asks whether travelers prefer to see themselves as part of the problem or as part of the solution. It shifts the focus away from the idea of tourists taking their own culture with them, and instead seeks to turn them into a means of preserving the culture of somewhere else. True ecotourism entails education of locals and tourists alike, as well as economics that benefit and preserve the location in question. Fervent supporters of ecotourism would argue that it is the best hope we have for maintaining the ecology of threatened ecosystems, of ensuring that flora, fauna, and folk are all still there for future generations.

From the point of view of an observer of travel, it also brings about one of the biggest reversals in the nature of travel since Thomas —ook invented the package tour. Ecotourism educates the tourist. Ecotourism can even engage the tourist in work to survey and maintain the environment. Ecotourism transforms the tourist into a guardian of the globe. It has finally turned the whole traveler/tourist debate on its head by clearly handing the high moral ground to the tourist - a redefinition truly as fundamental as Mr Tito's brief foray beyond the drag of gravity.

 

 

Answering the Question: What Is Postmodernism?

Demand

Jean-Francois Lyotard

This is a period of slackening - I refer to the color of the times. From every direction we are being urged to put an end to experimentation, in the arts and elsewhere. I have read an art historian who extols realism and is militant for the advent of a new subjectivity. 1 have read an art critic who packages and sells 'Transavantgardism' in the marketplace of painting. I have read that under the name of postmodernism, architects are getting rid of the Bauhaus project, throwing out the baby of experimentation with the bathwater of functionalism. I have read that a new philosopher is discovering what he drolly calls Judaeo-Christianism, and intends by it to put an end to the impiety which we are supposed to have spread. I have read in a French weekly that some are displeased with Mille Plateaux because they expect, especially when reading a work of philosophy, to be gratified with a little sense. I have read from the pen of a reputable historian that writers and thinkers of the 1960 and 1970 avant-gardes spread a reign of terror in the use of language, and that the conditions for a fruitful exchange must be restored by imposing on the intellectuals a common way of speaking, that of the historians. I have been reading a young philosopher of language who complains that Continental thinking, under the challenge of speaking machines, has surrendered to the machines the concern for reality, that it has substituted for the referential paradigm that of 'adlinguisticity' (one speaks about speech, writes about writing, intertextuality), and who thinks that the time has now come to restore a solid anchorage of language in the referent. I have read a talented theatrologist for whom postmodernism, with its games and fantasies, carries very little weight in front of political authority, especially when a worried public opinion encourages authority to a politics of totalitarian surveillance in the face of nuclear warfare threats.

1 have read a thinker of repute who defends modernity against those he calls the neoconservatives. Under the banner of postmodernism, the latter would like, he believes, to get rid of the uncompleted project of modernism, that of the Enlightenment. Even the last advocates of Aufklarung, such as Popper or Adorno, were only able, according to him, to defend the project in a few particular spheres of life - that of politics for the author of The Open Society, and that of art for the author of Asthetische Theorie. Jurgen Habermas (everyone had recognized him thinks that if modernity has failed, it is in allowing the totality of life to be splintered into independent specialties which are left to the narrow competence of experts, while the concrete individual experiences 'desublimated meaning' and 'destructured form', not as a liberation but in the mode of that immense ennui which Baudelaire described over a century ago.

Following a prescription of Albrecht Wellmer, Habermas considers that the remedy for this splintering of culture and its separation from life can only come from 'changing the status of aesthetic experience when it is no longer primarily expressed in judgments of taste', but when it is 'used to explore a living historical situation', that is, when 'it is put in relation with problems of existence'. For this experience then 'becomes a part of a language game which is no longer that of aesthetic criticism'; it takes part 'in cognitive processes and normative expectations'; 'it alters the manner in which those different moments refer to one another'. What Habermas requires from the arts and the experiences they provide is, in short, to bridge the gap between cognitive, ethical, and political discourses, thus opening the way to a unity of experience.

My question is to determine what sort of unity Habermas has in mind. Is the aim of the project of modernity the constitution of sociocultural unity within which all the elements of daily life and of thought would take their places as in an organic whole? Or does the passage that has to be charted between heterogeneous language-games - those of cognition, of ethics, of politics - belong to a different order from that? And if so, would it be capable of effecting a real synthesis between them?

The first hypothesis, of a Hegelian inspiration, does not challenge the notion of a dialectically totalizing experience; the second is closer to the spirit of Kant's Critique of ludgement; but must be submitted, like the Critique, to that severe reexamination which postmodernity imposes on the thought of the Enlightenment, on the idea of a unitary end of history and of a subject. It is this critique which not only Wittgenstein and Adorno have initiated, but also a few other thinkers (French or other) who do not have the honor to be read by Professor Habermas - which at least saves them from getting a poor grade for their neoconservatism.

 





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