Wrijvende meningen. Media en openbaarheid in Delft, 1850-1914
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis , Volume 4 - Issue 2 p. 51- 66
Friction of Opinions. The media and the Publics Sphere in Delft, 1850-1914The title of this article refers to a phrase, taken from an editorial of a radical liberal newspaper, expressing its faith in the power of reason and the freedom of the press: 'Truth will come to light by means of the friction of opinions' ('Du choc des opinions jaillit la vérité'. Cf. C.P. Colardeau, 1732-1766). The remark was quoted in 1885, at a moment when the relatively well developed media landscape in the small town of Delft (pop.: 20.000) was undergoing dramatic changes, the sort of changes with a striking resemblance of the patterns Juergen Habermas has described in his famous study The Structural Transfirmation of the Public Sphere. This contribution tracks the development of the local media culture; firstly from an institutional point of view, from the rise of a liberal public sphere around the middle of the nineteenth century till its 'usurpation' by the partisan media, linked to the rising political and religious movements or 'pillars' (zuilen). Special attention is paid to the social origins of these changes and the interaction between local and national developments. Finally the question is raised in what sense these local media did contribute to a modern view of the world, by the 'rational' way they presented the daily events, creating an image of a more or less transparent society and offering a sense of progress on a human level.