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Disruptive Technology

Social Media from Modiano to Zola and Proust

Elizabeth Emery

their literary landscape. * He expressed concern about how these new forms of information technology encroach upon the silence and intimacy necessary for human reflection and, by implication, for the production of literature. 1 Modiano’s comments were

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Reworking Appropriation

The Language of Paris Railways, 1870–1914

Peter Soppelsa

By tracking railway language through periodicals and poetry, this article examines the words and images used to make sense of Paris's new subway and streetcars between 1870 and 1914. It proposes a new threefold approach to understanding the appropriation of technology, which reworks its agents, sites, and chronologies. It maintains that appropriation takes both material and symbolic forms, and that appropriation processes transform both appropriated objects and their cultural contexts. Language anchors appropriation as it operates through circulating texts. For Paris, railways were both transportation technologies and versatile tools for making meaning. Railways set spaces, customs, identities, and images adrift, which traditionalists found threatening, progressives found promising, and avant-gardists found inspiring. Fitting Paris with railways required both reimagining and rebuilding the city, and reshaping what railways could be. The article concludes that appropriation is neither linear nor complete, but rather an ongoing and unfinished negotiation of the meaning of technologies.

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Nicholas Balaisis

This article examines the Cuban mobile cinema campaign in the 1960s as a case study for thinking about the relationship between cinema and mobility. I examine the rhetoric around mobile cinema in Cuban journals such as Cine Cubano, and in the documentary film Por primera vez (For the first time, 1967). I argue that cinema is linked with mobility in two primary ways: as a virtual mobility stimulated by onscreen images, and as a more literal mobility expressed by the transportation of film into remote rural sites of exhibition. These two kinds of mobility reflect the hopes and ambitions of filmmakers and critics energized by the resurgent nationalism of the Cuban revolution, and the excitement of cinema as a “new” technology in rural Cuba.

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Alessandro Jedlowski

of construction of the self through specific, motion-based “drives,” 5 and “aspirations.” 6 In this context, transport and communication technologies have a particularly relevant role. By facilitating and accelerating the motion of people, objects

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From Autonomous to Socially Conceived Technology

Toward a Causal, Intentional and Systematic Analysis of Interests and Elites in Public Technology Policy

Gunnar K.A. Njálsson

When administrative scientists look to the current scholarship surrounding the phenomenon of technological development, they will inevitably be forced to grapple not only with an entire battery of abstract theories portraying technological development as more or less socially determined or autonomous. These policy analysts will also be obliged to struggle with the daunting task of developing a coherent, causal, subject-oriented and systematic framework for describing, comparing and even creating public technology policies. Understanding the spectrum of theories available when examining public information technology policy development (hereafter IT-policy) from an administrative sciences perspective, including how these theories relate to each other and differ in nature, is paramount to any attempt to formulate such a systematic framework regarding the subject. Indeed, it is crucial in order to defend one’s choice of methodology.

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Brian Wemp

The Grands Magasins Dufayel, a huge department store built on the northern fringe of late nineteenth-century Paris, had an important cultural influence on the city's working class. In a neighborhood with few public spaces, it provided a consumer version of the public square. It encouraged workers to approach shopping as a social activity, just as the bourgeoisie did at the famous department stores in central Paris. Like the bourgeois stores, it helped transform consumption from a personal transaction between customer and merchant into an unmediated relationship between consumer and goods. Through advertising the store portrayed itself as a space where the working-class visitor could participate in new and exciting forms of entertainment and technology. Its unique instore cinema and exhibits of inventions like X-ray machines and the gramophone created a new kind of urban space that celebrated the close relationship between technology and consumer culture.

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Dimanche à Orly

The Jet-Age Airport and the Spectacle of Technology between Sky and Earth

Vanessa R. Schwartz

This article examines the second most visited site in Paris during the 1960s, behind only the Eiffel Tower, which stood outside the city's walls in Orly. The airport there, re-built in 1961 to welcome the new era of high-speed air travel in the form of jet service, featured a prominent “terrasse” where visitors paid admission to watch the jets come and go. This article examines the jet-age renovation of the airport and the wild popularity of visits there in order to consider the role of visual spectacle in advancing the culture of technological optimism of 1960s France.

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La Police de l'Air

Amateur Radio and the Politics of Aural Surveillance in France, 1921-1940

Derek W. Vaillant

As France wrestles over the uses and societal impact of digital media and the Internet, it is instructive to recall another era of communications innovation, namely the introduction of interwar radio to the French public, and the government's reaction to controversial applications by the citizenry. Recent scholarship has underscored the importance of interwar radio broadcasting to France and its territories. Less explored, however, is the work of amateur user/developers who shaped the radio medium as an instrument of speaking, as well as listening. Determined to manage applications of radio, the French Interior Ministry formed a Police de l'Air to monitor France's airwaves, including the activities of amateur radio users (i.e., hams), whose lawful (and sometimes unlawful) use of point-to-point and broadcast communication had begun to significantly disrupt the government's effort to dictate the future forms and uses of radio. Against a backdrop of political crisis and attempts to manage print and electronic communication and dissent, the skirmishes between the Police de l'Air and amateur radio users reveal historical aspects of contemporary debates over use, access, and qualifications to speak and be heard in mediated cultural and political settings.

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Subversive Mobilities

The Copenhagen Riots, 1900–1919

Mikkel Thelle

The article approaches mobility through a cultural history of urban conflict. Using a case of “The Copenhagen Trouble,“ a series of riots in the Danish capital around 1900, a space of subversive mobilities is delineated. These turn-of-the-century riots points to a new pattern of mobile gathering, the swarm; to a new aspect of public action, the staging; and to new ways of configuring public space. These different components indicate an urban assemblage of subversion, and a new characterization of the “throwntogetherness“ of the modern public.

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Off-grid Mobilities

Incorporating a Way of Life

Phillip: Taggart Vannini

Drawing from sensory ethnography, the present multimodal writing—accompanied by photography and digital video—documents and interprets the mobilities of off-grid living on Lasqueti Island, British Columbia, Canada. The data presentation focuses in particular on the embodied experience of off-grid inhabitation, highlighting the sensory and kinetic experiences and practices of everyday life in a community disconnected from the North American electrical grid and highway network. The mobilities of fuel and energy are presented in unison with ethnographic attention to the taskscape of everyday activities and movements in which off-grid islanders routinely engage. The analysis, based on Tim Ingold's non-representational theory on place, movement, and inhabitation, focuses on how the material and corporeal mobilities of off-grid life body forth a unique sense of place.