Media, transportation and society: reflections on their transformations

"The text seeks to understand the relationship between means of communication and transportation in society and stresses the impact of new electronic devices on people’s lives and, especially, on their holidays and free time. Having as a base the empirical observation and the readings already done, my text stems from two ideas as theoretical hypothesis, the first one being that people, while on a nomadic life during their holidays, do not abandon routine tasks such as checking their email. The second one is that, in spite of the fact that the postmodern idea of global village means similarity, each place is different, which makes people travel to know them. Although unable to produce a scientific confirmation, due to the casual and superficial contact with reality, I detected two types in the observation: short connection time, use of computer for useful purposes (email, social networks). Besides the computer, which they carried in hand, indicating that they were going from their place of residence during the holidays to the café, people used the mobile phone. Thus, the esplanade, the café and the garden become places that are also virtual, of contact not only with the people who are sitting at a table or bench, but equally around the world, prolonging the idea of public space in Habermas (1984). For me, communication and transportation follow distinct but close lines. The starting questions for this text are: which developments in transportation and communications? Which permanent reconfigurations in the two activities? In the 21st century, which are the most important: those in transportation or in media? If the media adopted the possibilities of transportation (mobility, speed), what is the impact? To pursue with an analysis, I evoke curious events from the history of Portuguese media, from my investigation in the area, and recognise the theoretical debt owed to texts by Carey (1992) and Urry (2003, 2010)" (paper presented at 6th Annual Communication Graduate Caucus (CGC), Conference Neglected Media, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, March 2011; view full paper here).

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