Journalism and the changing act of observation : writing about cities in the British press 1880–1940

O'Reilly, CA 2017, 'Journalism and the changing act of observation : writing about cities in the British press 1880–1940' , in: Communicating the City: Meanings, Practices, Interactions , Urban Communication , Peter Lang, New York, pp. 3-16.

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Abstract

Peter Fritzsche’s (1996) study of the social and literary texts of turn-of-the-century Berlin begins with the observation that the key point of fascination around the nexus of city and its literature is the tension between the city as narrated form and the city as a geographical space. This tension provides the starting point for this work on the changing process of journalistic observation of the British city in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The chapter demonstrates that the idea of the city in British newspapers of this period progressed from the city as mediated through narrated, first-person observation to the idea of the city as an imagined space. The nineteenth century journalist occupied a distinctive place in the British city. They were both observer and observed – a unique collision of spectator and spectacle. This chapter deploys Walter Benjamin’s concept of the flâneur (or “urban wanderer”) to examine the relationship between journalism and the act of observation through to the middle of the twentieth century. It argues that fundamental changes to the journalism profession in the late nineteenth century impacted directly on how journalists conceived of and wrote about the city.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Aiello, G, Oakley, K and Tarantino, M
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: Peter Lang
Series Name: Urban Communication
ISBN: 978-1-4331-3098-4
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Carole O'Reilly
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2015 11:05
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2017 21:38
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/36971

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