ERIC Number: ED217447
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: 0
"Loss and Change": Radio and the Shock to Sensibility in American Life, 1919-1924.
Covert, Catherine L.
Historians have traditionally seen the advent of radio in the United States as a signal in the early 1920s for a season of euphoria; what they have not seen is the sense of shock and loss the new technology brought. An analysis of newspaper and magazine coverage of the new medium documents the impact on American sensibilities of the new experience. The analysis reveals that most journalists were at a loss to describe the experience and drew upon familiar metaphors to render it understandable. As a treasury of those metaphors, the American print media served as a major conservative influence, preserving earlier experience in conceptual patterns that helped Americans to come to terms with their sense of loss of earlier communication modes. Only after the new had been understood in terms of the old could old meanings be attached to this new object in American life. The experience with radio pointed up two more general patterns in American cultural life--the sense of loss of mastery and the sense of loss of relationships. With its invasion of domestic privacy, its threat to commitment in the larger social sphere, and its shock to the sensibilities, radio exemplified these unsettling sensations. Its further perceived impact on the ability to assimilate meaning and to concentrate in depth on substance of account seemed to promise an impairment of intellectual style long associated with print. (FL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (65th, Athens, OH, July 25-28, 1982).