Date of Degree

6-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Political Science

Advisor(s)

Jack Jacobs

Marshall Berman

Subject Categories

Political Science

Keywords

Digital Hypertexts, Discourse Networks, Media and Message, Media and Politics, Modern Revolutionary Texts, Political Theory

Abstract

The dissertation investigates the relationship between media and message in modern political thought. In the research I situate the ideas of three modern political theorists Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, and Theodor Herzl in the material conditions prevailing in the printing industry of their times. I investigate in each case how the media culture the thinker was working in influenced his political ideas. My findings indicate that in all three cases the political ideas were shaped and conditioned by the particular position of the author, the prevailing attitude to the printed word, and the existing media technologies. Based on the historical research, in the last part of the study I explore the future of political ideas in the age of digital hypertexts. Overall, the findings of the research lead me to call for a broadening of conventional analysis of political ideas: Political ideas must be seen as part of the highly regulated streams of information that flow between author and reader in any given historical period.

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