The forgotten form of knowledge: Similarities between early 18th century Danish Journals and nowadays Facebook discourse

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  • Lisbeth Worsøe-Schmidt
The forgotten form of knowledge: Similarities between early 18th century Danish
journals and nowadays Facebook discourse. Contemplating the early display of the public sphere in the 18th century, one is struck by the ease with which participants conduct themselves within the emerging institution. This does not correspond very well with Habermas' notion of public reasoning as “peculiar
and without historical precedent”. On closer examination, it turns out that only a minority, namely the very people whose names and works have survived in history and literary history, held this ease. Most of the very early Danish general periodicals show a different picture. During the first half of the 18th century, all sorts of stupid jokes, provocations and sharp attacks on dissenters thrived in a fashion rather similar to the kind of discourse frequently found on today's social media. But why and how did public discourse become more polished during the 18th century? Is it possible to generalize the process that discourse in early Danish journals underwent? And is there hope for today's public discourse on social media or are we lost in moral blindness and lack of sensitivity as Baumann puts it? The paper seeks the answer through a dual analytical strategy, first an examination of the conceptions of reason, emotion and morality introduced by early Danish journals and second, a sociohistorical study of authors and editors of the journals. The theoretical standpoint is the intersection between theory on the public sphere (Habermas and Tönnies), mediatization theory (Averbeck-Lietz), and philosophy/sociology of knowledge (Berger, Brinkmann
and Gustavsson).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date20 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2017
EventThe Eighteenth Century: Past and Present: The second Nordic conference in eighteenth-century studies - Uppsala Universitet, Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 12 Oct 201714 Oct 2017
Conference number: 2


ConferenceThe Eighteenth Century: Past and Present
LocationUppsala Universitet
Internet address

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Danish 18th century journals, Facebook discourse, public sphere, mediatization, philosophy of knowledge

ID: 183875856