in my recent work, that draws on the research of my dissertation (Flugpublizistik und Öffentlichkeit um 1700. Dynamiken, Akteure und Strukturen im urbanen Raum des Alten Reiches, Stuttgart 2011), I am interpreting the early modern city, in the term of Filippo de Vivo, as a resonating box. Starting with the basic assumption that the everyday rhythm of city life was structured and influenced by the media logic of urban acts of communication, I began to analyze this logic. As my research demonstrates especially in case studies on Cologne and Hamburg in late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the growing use of print (particularly pamphlets) moved local conflict away from face-to-face confrontation into progressively more multifaceted modes of communication, increasingly expressed in both manuscript and print. In my opinion, highlighting the mediality of early modern urbanity, i.e. focusing on the interplay and complementation of oral, written and printed means of communication through the city and its communities, gives way to a new characterization of the early modern city. By interpreting the interplay and complementation of oral, written and printed means of communication as echoes that formed a constant polyphonic state (including both literates and illiterates), the city as a whole can be described as an urban resonating box. In my understanding, such an approach of interpreting cities as resonating boxes is useful to blur the lines between early modern and modern status.
Resonating boxes. An approach to define the early modern urban space in Europe.
For more information see my (already published and forthcoming) articles:
"The early modern city as a resonating box: media, the public sphere and the urban space of the Holy Roman Empire, Cologne and Hamburg c. 1700", Journal of Early Modern History 16,3 (2012), 201-240.
"Organizing public opinion in a resonating box: The Gülich rebellion in early modern Cologne, 1680–1686", Urban History 40,1 (forthcoming 2013).
Dr. Daniel Bellingradt
University of Erfurt