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1 M e d i a a n d t h e C u l t u r a l C o n s t r u c t i o n o f T i m e G r y H a s s e l b a l c h 1

2 T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s I n t r o d u c t i o n.p. 4 C h a p t e r 1 : C u l t u r e, T i m e a n d N a r r a t i v e 1. C u l t u r e, T i m e a n d N a r r a t i v e...p. 11 Different Tools to a Different Time.p C u l t u r e a n d M e a n i n g.p T i m e a n d M e a n i n g..p Ontology and Time p Henri Bergson and Time..p Two Types of Multiplicity..p Duration p Duration as Method (Deleuze, 1988)..p Conclusions..p A p p r o a c h i n g C o n t e m p o r a r y N a r r a t i v e s..p Narratology p Fabula and Syuzhet.p Subject and Object...p Conclusions...p. 31 C h a p t e r 2 : A D i f f e r e n t T i m e T h e M e d i a a n d E x t e r n a l S t r u c t u r e s o f T i m e 2. A D i f f e r e n t T i m e p. 34 Media..p. 35 Methodological Considerations..p T w o D i f f e r e n t N a r r a t i v e s o f T i m e..p The Now : Genre and Form of Address.p The Past and the Present p An Anchor: The Time of Reception p The Time of Narration and the Time of the Narrated..p The Different Time p The Different Narrative.p P e r i o d i s a t i o n...p M o d e r n i z a t i o n a n d D i f f e r e n t i a t i o n / P o s t m o d e r n i - z a t i o n a n d D e d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n p Social and Cultural Differentiation.p Postmodernization and Dedifferentiation.p T h e R o l e o f t h e M e d i a.p. 58 2

3 2.5. C u l t u r a l S p a c e a n d T i m e...p Is Time fixed in Space? p Principles of Organisation: The Year that Went By, Year 2001 in Words and Images.p Cultural Principles of Organisation p The Television Channel s Now p The Western Societies Now.. p Denmark s Now.p The System of Cultural Values and Ideas p. 73 C h a p t e r 3 : C u l t u r a l M e m o r y M e d i a A u d i e n c e s a n d I n t e r n a l S t r u c t u r e s o f T i m e 3. C u l t u r a l M e m o r y..p. 78 Two Types of Recollection..p T h e S t u d y o f M e d i a A u d i e n c e s.p M e m o r y.p Perception and Memory...p C o m p e t i n g M e m o r i e s o n T e l e v i s i o n N o w, W h e n W a s T h a t?...p The Different Structure.p The Contestant..p External and Internal Time..p R e m e m b e r i n g o n T e l e v i s i o n N o w, w h e n w a s t h a t?.p Mnemonics...p T h e N o w...p. 101 C o n c l u s i o n.p. 107 Resumé på dansk...p. 110 Bibliography...p. 111 Appendixes... p Beginning of DR1 s show and TV2 s show p Interview with Peter Luke..p Narrative organisation of year 2001, DR1..p Narrative organisation of year 2001, TV2.. p Interview with TV critic of Ekstra Bladet (Danish tabloid), Hans Flemming Kragh,TV2 p Lotte Mejlhede interview with Salman Rushdie and final interview with Ulla Terkelsen.p Interview with foreign correspondents in studio, Poul Erik Skammelsen and Ulla Terkelsen,TV2.p Figure 1: The time of Western civilisation..p Denmark as a person.p Interview with Anders Fogh Rasmussen.p Citater fra Hvornår var det nu det var? på dansk, til kapitel 3...p

4 I n t r o d u c t i o n 4

5 I n t r o d u c t i o n If time is the rhythm of our individual and social lives, then in this century the Western societies have witnessed an acceleration of this rhythm of life; a development that has motivated both negative and positive descriptions of the temporal category. Time can be described as a category given certain meanings due to distinctive social, economic, and cultural conditions. Thus, the way in which the nature of time is conceptualised changes from society to society and from period to period. Time can be against us and it can be with us. It can be endless and uncertain and it can be closed and certain. We can describe one time or we can describe many competing times. Every time we define time in any of these ways, we expose a cultural order. One can therefore look at cultural constructions of time as cultural indicators. A r g u m e n t: The dissertation is a theoretical discussion of the characteristics of the Western 1 contemporary cultural category of time. The focus is on the media s role in the cultural construction of time, particularly on television s role in the construction of a different temporal category. The discussion is exemplified in the Danish television programmes: The quiz show Now, When Was That? ( Hvornår var det nu det var? ) and in textual analysis of the narrative organisation of the television shows about year 2001 The Year that Went By ( Året der gik, DR1, 27 th December 2001) and Year 2001 in Words and Images ( År 2001 i ord og billeder, TV2, 28 th of December 2001). 1 I am using Hall s (1991, p ) description of the term The West. The term is not used to designate a geographical space, but is used as a reference to areas that have gone through particular social, economic and cultural processes. 5

6 My hypothesis is that a qualitative, plural and heterogeneous structure has been incorporated into the chronological, homogeneous and quantitative temporal category that we know from the Western Modernity as clock time or Standard Time. This development is often in theory described as a disturbance of the stable rational structure. The proclamation This is the end of time is echoed in many theoretical writings about postmodern times and the media s influence on individual times or conversely the subjective memory s influence on the objective study of social time. However, in this study this development is viewed as a process that evolve alongside social, cultural and economic processes that dedifferentiate (Lash, 1989) the modernist autonomous spheres and categories including Newton s absolute homogenous time. Time s cultural character and the unnaturalness of a chronological and quantitative time is therefore emphasised. And thus the different time is not viewed as meaningless and disordered. The proclamation: This is the end of time is followed by the reasoning as we know it. The objective of the dissertation is first and foremost to understand the different time on its own premises; that is, to find principles of organisation in the narratives of and about the contemporary temporal category that differ from the rationalist quantitative and chronological principles of organisation. The end result is a reconceptualisation of the contemporary Western category of time. L i t e r a r y R e v i e w : This dissertation is a theoretical argument that springs from a particular perspective on culture and cultural forms. It is based on French and British cultural theory, postmodernist and poststructuralist theory, and consequently it is influenced by a qualitative and deductive approach to the study of cultural forms. Most of the sources are from media and communication studies, but it must be emphasised that the study moves within an interdisciplinary framework and therefore also draws on philosophical, sociological and anthropological studies. I mention here the main influences: The 6

7 different rationality was indicated to me by Scott Lash in a general course in cultural theory 2 and in his book Another Modernity: A Different Rationality (1999). The different approach and the different ontology of this study is, however, based on Henri Bergson s ( ) writings on duration and thought as movement from which I draw lines to contemporary cultural studies. I was influenced by contemporary cultural and postcolonial theorists that address mobile cultures. For example Doreen Massey ( A global sense of place, 1994), James Clifford ( Travelling Cultures, 1997) and Raymond Williams ( Culture as a whole way of life, 1993). Then, I understand the transformation of the objective qualities of time and space (Harvey, 1990) with Marshall McLuhan s description of the media s transformation of the message (meaning) (1964) and the global village (1967), David Harvey s conception of a time-space compression (1990), Stephen Kern s description of technological developments and artistic movements between 1880 to 1918 that formed the basis for the plurality of times (1983) and Joshua Meyrowitz s (1985) description of the media s effect on the objective qualities of social space. I describe actual processes of differentiation and dedifferentiation of the social and the cultural using Scott Lash (1989) and a conceptual differentiation and dedifferentiation of narrative knowledge and scientific knowledge using Jean Francois Lyotard (1986). I approach contemporary narratives of time with David Bordwell (1985) and Paul Ricoeur (1984, 1985). I see a potential of the simulacra with Baudrillard (1988). I approach the cultural order of the media terrain with theorists that delineate cultural spaces such as Benedict Anderson (1983) and David Morley and Kevin Robbins (1995). I merge the private time with the public time in the television structure and focus on the television programmes phenomenological now with Paddy Scannel (1996) and Stephanie Marriot (1996). I understand media audiences with approaches that spring from Stuart Hall s "encoding-decoding model" (1980). The end result is an understanding of a different time and a different culture that consists of many cultures and consequently many times. 2 At Goldsmith s College, University of London. 7

8 S t r u c t u r e: The dissertation consists of 3 chapters. One argument of the dissertation is that time and culture are two sides of the same coin. Hence, chapter 1 consists of two working definitions of respectively culture and time. Time and culture are both terms that in this century have been approached as stable and enduring categories. In chapter 1, I illustrate the volatility of these categories. My argument is that time and culture have been conceptualised as stable and enduring categories particularly by theoretical approaches that spring from specific historical ontologies, one of these being Newton s absolute and stable universe. If the assumption is that time and culture are increasingly plural and constantly changing categories, one can thus only emphasise a different rationality (Lash, 1999) that can be used to understand structures of time that differ from the homogenous singular structure. This will be done in chapter 1. Here, I will emphasise the French philosopher Henri Bergson s incentive to think movement and contemporary approaches to culture as a whole way of life (Williams, 1993). Finally, I will exemplify my conclusions in a delineation and critique of the narratological approach to time. In this study, I am arguing that time is a cultural category ; a set of shared meanings that are produced, represented and importantly lived by individuals (p.18 in this study, in this way Stuart Hall (1997) defines culture). Thus, I am arguing that time is a simultaneously subjective and objective category. I will analytically argue for this definition of time throughout the dissertation. I have chosen to focus on the media s role in the construction of the contemporary cultural category time. And consequently my argument is developed in this particular theoretical framework. The chapters 2 and 3 are used theoretically to sustain my interpretation of the encoding and decoding sides of the media's specific communicative chain; they respectively analyse the medium and the external structures of time and the media audiences and the internal structures of time. 8

9 This division between the media and the audience is effected by the theories that the dissertation is based upon. Traditional studies of the media and the audience have been limited in their research by a singular perspective from either the position of the individual or the position of the medium. Conclusions of studies as such have consequently been made with a side-glance to a critique of their implicit "Other". In no way, can I rewrite these studies of the media and the audience, but when taking into consideration both sides of the communicative chain, I can at least structurally overcome this dichotomy. The division between these two chapters can therefore only emphasise its own arbitrariness. Rather than being viewed as independent and opposing sections, chapters 2 and 3 should thus preferably be interpreted as each other s complements. In chapter 2 I am focusing on the external structures of time when discussing social, economic and cultural developments over the last century and examining the representation of time on two year cavalcades of the year 2001 from DR1 and TV2. In this chapter, I use a description of two different historical processes of respectively differentiation and dedifferentiation (Lash, 1989) to describe a social, cultural and economic transformation of Western societies. I here focus on the media s role in the transformation of the objective qualities of space and time. This role of the media has been approached with much scrutiny because it contributes to a process in which the modernists stable and enduring categories are destabilised. In contrast, I approach the destabilisation processes as meaningful processes that imply a different reality of time, not the end of time. I therefore attempt to understand the specificity of the different structure of time through examinations of the narrative organisation of the two year cavalcades from TV2 and DR1. My objective is to find principles of organisation different from the quantitative, chronological principles of a rationalist time and hence to find a different order and meaning of the Western contemporary temporal category. 9

10 In chapter 3 media audiences and the internal structures of time is considered with a theoretical discussion of the relation between the audience and the media. I here emphasise the limitations of dialectic approaches to the study of media audiences and I accentuate approaches that imply a dialogic relation between the media, media audiences and social realities. Chapter 3 should function as a re-conceptualisation of the different time as memory. I therefore refer to Henri Bergson s discussion of memory as the intersection between mind and matter, the subjective and the objective and time and space. I use the quiz programme Now, When Was That? to exemplify my arguments. The show presents an intermediate space in which the individual and the television images exist in a dialogic relation and therefore it is first and foremost used to illustrate an intersection between the chapters 2 and 3 s theoretical points of departure. It must be emphasised that chapter 2 is given more weight than chapter 3, not because its theoretical point of departure (the media and external structures of time) is more important than the one of chapter 3 (media audiences and the internal structures of time), but because the examples of this study are drawn from media representations of time and not from empirical audience research. Chapter 2 is thus the actual body of the dissertation and chapter 3 functions as a condensation of the arguments put forward in chapter 1 and 2 and not the least as an emphasis on the arbitrariness of the theoretical separation between the internal and the external structure. 10

11 C h a p t e r 1 : C u l t u r e, T i m e a n d N a r r a t i v e 11

12 C u l t u r e, T i m e a n d N a r r a t i v e time becomes human to the extent that it is organized after the manner of narrative: Narrative in turn is meaningful to the extent that it portrays the features of temporal experience. (Ricoeur, 1984, p. 3) In The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1986) the end of the modern is described as a general questioning of the modern era s distinction between scientific knowledge and narrative knowledge. In this book Jean Francois Lyotard describes the foundational language games of the two forms of knowledge and then places scientific knowledge under the category of narrative knowledge when illustrating how scientific knowledge always draws on the narrative knowledge of culture: Scientific knowledge cannot know and make known that it is true knowledge without resorting to the other, narrative, kind of knowledge (Lyotard, 1986, p. 29). Thus, he denaturalises the modern distinction between narrative knowledge and scientific knowledge. He argues that the only difference there is between the two forms of knowledge is that while narrative knowledge is accompanied by a certain tolerance (Lyotard, 1986, p.27), when approaching scientific knowledge as another variant in the category of narrative cultures, scientific knowledge is not characterised by the same tolerant approach. The truth claim of scientific knowledge is made possible only by the exclusion of all other language games. In the two volumes, Time and Narrative (1983, 1984) Paul Ricoeur describes the relation between two forms of temporality: An objective time characterised by infinity and a mortal finite time with a beginning, a middle and an end. Ricoeur s argument is that the objective eternal time can only be experienced through human time, that is, through narratives. The narrative is therefore our only possible relation to time. Ricoeur implies what one might call the mortal perspective, which confines him to the Kantian proposition that we cannot perceive time directly. His 12

13 fundamental objective is to illustrate the narrative characteristic of traditional historical accounts, that is, to denaturalise the myths of the historical account s objectivity. Following this objective, he illustrates in Vol. 2 with an examination of the modernist literary narratives that there are different narratives that can contribute to our understanding of historical time. The French philosopher, Henri Bergson, whose writings are the basis of this study, advocates a very different perspective that can be referred to as the immortal perspective or vitalist 3 (which is as much a criticism of the subjectivist Kantian time as it is a criticism of the objectivist Newtonian time). He argues that the reality of time is inaccessible only when approaching it with the rationalists fixed concepts and symbols. In contrast to Kant, Bergson thinks that one can access the absolute: because we fail to reconstruct the living reality with stiff and readymade concepts, it does not follow that we cannot grasp it in some other way (Bergson, 1999, p. 60). In essence, Bergson and Ricoeur are philosophical opposites (and Ricoeur emphasises this in vol. 1, p. 226). Yet, as Bergson, Ricoeur is up against the same rationalism of time that emphasise an absolute objective time rather than a time that consists of a plurality of times. Ricoeur thus, as argued, uses modernist fiction to access an historical time and Bergson describes art as a mode of accessing real time (in his essay, Laughter: an essay on the meaning of the comic, 1935). Fundamentally, they both emphasise as Ricoeur states that temporality is more subjective than any subject and more objective than any object (Ricoeur, 1983, p. 84). D i f f e r e n t T o o l s t o a D i f f e r e n t T i m e The objective and the subjective times cannot be separated. They are combined in narratives that present to us some of the cultural conditions of a specific moment and place. Accordingly, an examination of some of our contemporary narratives might lead one to an understanding of the 13

14 contemporary Western cultural category of time. Often it has been illustrated that in this century the categories of both time and culture have transformed from singular, universal and homogenous categories into plural and heterogeneous categories. It is here important to emphasise that this transformation of the temporal and cultural categories takes place on all levels of Western society. The categories of time and culture are represented as plural and heterogeneous, produced as such and experienced as such. Following this presumption, many cultural theorists argue that this realisation of plurality is recognised only on the surface by intellectuals that approach the plurality of time and culture with fixed concepts and categories, in other words, analytical tools of a stable, homogenous reality. These analyses of the temporal category have thus only been able to detect chaos in plurality. Keith Ansell Pearson (2002) states that Gilles Deleuze s exemplification of the Bergsonian challenge to Einstein s theory of relativity is to insist that the proper question to pose is not is duration one or many? (Einstein s realisation), but rather, what is the multiplicity (and thus the differentiation proper) that is specific and peculiar to it? (My insertions, Pearson, 2002, p.58). Contemporary cultural theorists are faced with the problems of, not so much the by now familiar recognition of the plurality of time and culture, but more with the problems of finding analytical tools with which they can approach a contemporary plural reality. At any rate, it seems fair to conclude that fundamentally at the same time this is a battle between the structuralist and the poststructuralist approach to cultural forms. This chapter attempts a delineation of this complex of problems. The argument takes its departure in the poststructuralist, cultural theorist's line of argumentation described in the above. The chapter is opened with a discussion of the meaning of culture as it has been constructed within Western cultural studies in the last century. Then the conceptualisation of the nature of time will be approached similarly. Yet, in this section, I find it more important to emphasise time s 3 See Lash, 1999, p

15 cultural characteristics, because of the slightly stronger tendency to see time as a fact of nature. Thereafter, Henri Bergson s criticism of the rationalist conception of a homogenous, spatialised and single time will be examined. I will here delineate his ontology of a plural, undialectical and heterogeneous time as existence. And thence, I will examine Bergson s promotion of the philosophical approach proper in an image of a time as such. In conclusion, the argument that a realisation of the plurality of time must be succeeded by a different conceptual framework that corresponds to the qualities of this different time, will be illustrated with an examination of the narratological approach to narratives C u l t u r e a n d M e a n i n g In his Key Words (1976) Raymond Williams delineates the historical transformation of the meanings of the term culture from denoting the tending of natural growth in the 15 th century to being a category of music, literature, painting and sculpture, theatre and film (Williams, 1976, p. 80) in the early 20 th century. In itself, the term bears reference to a cultural and social development. An examination of the historical meanings of the term thus illustrates the social and cultural constitution of a society at a given historical moment. In the early 20 th century, the meaning of the term culture was mainly created in reaction to its binary opposition; industry. The sub terms and meanings of culture: art, the individual, originality and Europe were at this time contrasted to the sub terms and meanings of industry : commerce, mass, standardisation and the USA (Lecture notes, David Morley, 2001). The Marxist scholars of the Frankfurt School, Theodor Adorno and T.W. Horkheimer criticised what they termed The Culture Industries (primarily diverse forms of modern media) and 15

16 the product of these: mass culture. They explained the workings of capitalist society with what is later referred to in contemporary media audience studies as the hypodermic needle model. In this model an elitist concept of a culture of The Great Tradition is contrasted to a commodified culture that the culture industries inject into the consciousness of unenlightened masses. Adorno and Horkheimer s criticism of this low form of culture was based in the perception that the standardisation and rationalisation of cultural products that could be mechanically reproduced, equally caused a standardisation of its consumers ( deceived masses ) that were deprived of any form of critical agency. They thus saw it as the elite s cultural task to enlighten the masses. (T.W. Adorno and M. Horkheimer, 1977). In the 1960 s, British scholars of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the Birmingham University initiated a critique of these determinist studies of culture. The critique was primarily based on the argument that theorists as Adorno and Horkheimer excluded some forms of culture with an elitist conception of the term culture that privileged cultural forms such as literature, arts and classical music over the popular forms of entertainment, mainly film and jazz music. Primarily, the British scholars focused on a British working class s culture/popular culture and rejected the Marxist term deceived masses that ironically was translated into ignorant masses. In the famous article Culture is Ordinary (Williams, 1993, p. 5-14), the British scholar Raymond Williams places himself in opposition to previous Marxist elitist studies of culture. Raymond Williams defines the culture of a given society as a shape (the category), a set of purposes and common meanings (Williams, 1993, p.6.). These are expressed in institutions, and in arts and learning (Williams, 1993, p.6), but importantly, they are constituted in a social 16

17 space of active debate and amendment under the pressures of experience, contact and discovery... (Williams, 1993, p.6). This definition of culture presumes Antonio Gramsci's neo-marxist notion of hegemony; a model that suggests that the economic base does not determine the superstructure directly and unproblematically as theorised by traditional Marxists. Rather, the subordinate groups negotiate the dominant meanings. Thus, a picture is painted of a culture constituted by meanings created between the individual and the symbolic orders of a given society whose relation consequently is defined primarily as dialogic 4. As Raymond Williams states...the growing society is there, yet it is also made and remade in every individual mind... (Williams, 1993, p. 6). In the article, Williams describes culture as something that is both traditional and creative. He argues that culture has two sides: 1) the known meanings and directions, which its members are trained to (Williams, 1993, p. 6) and 2) the new observations and meanings, which are offered and tested (Williams, 1993, p.6). Thus, culture becomes a whole way of life (Williams, 1993, p.8) that consists of both the prescribed dominant meanings and the negotiations of these. Culture is not only a product of The Great Tradition or the public institutions. It is individual, social and not the least ordinary, produced by the British working class. The British conception of culture as a whole way of life is important because it includes ways of living that were excluded by traditional elitist conceptions of a culture with unchanging, stable boundaries. The critique is fundamentally a critique of this exclusiveness and stableness of a rooted culture. In the introduction to the book Writing Culture-The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (1986), the anthropologist James Clifford criticises traditional ethnography similarly. He argues that the traditional ethnographer approaches cultures as if they were authentic stable entities and not 4 Term of Volosinov (1973), meaning: A property of all signification, that of being structured as dialogue (O Sullivan etc, 1994, p. 87) 17

18 outcomes of a far more mobile reality in which meanings are constantly negotiated and reconstituted. Hence, in his book Routes: travel and translation in the late twentieth century (1997) Clifford provides us with the term Travelling Cultures. With this term, he takes into account cultures created between stable meanings. He replaces the metaphor roots (an image of the original, authentic and fixed cultural entity) with the metaphor routes. The routes are the intervals of negotiation and translation between the fixed cultural points of accepted meaning. A travelling culture is in this sense a culture of multiple cultural meanings. Thus, the measure proper in this image of mobility is one of movement rather than fixity, because it does not endeavour to accommodate conclusive and universal meaning: The result is a version of culture in process that resists any final summation (Clifford, 1986, p. 16) T i m e a n d M e a n i n g One day a friend says to me: I wish the day had 30 hours. When wishing that the day had 30 hours, she at the same time recognises that days do not have 30 hours, but 24, and consequently that time is not her own, but is a construct with objective qualities (Harvey, 1989) that determine her sense of a reality with borders and limits which she does not herself fix. One shares an experience and a definition of time with a given number of people. Lash & Urry (1994) states that... the category of time is not natural but social. Time is an objectively given social category of thought produced within societies (my emphasis, Lash & Urry, 1994, p. 224). They define time from a sociological perspective recognising that time is created within a particular social context and therefore it is not a fact of nature. This recognition is as important as the recognition of culture as a whole way of life (Williams, 1993). Yet, Lash and Urry continue to define time as an objectively given category and consequently define time mainly by its objective external character, that is, 18

19 external to individual thought and experience. But perhaps time is better defined as cultural, because one can argue that by this definition an element of subjective time is included. As illustrated time is never just one s own (Emanuel Kant), but neither is it a purely objective construct (Isaac Newton). Time is a cultural category : a set of shared meanings that are produced, represented and importantly lived by individuals (in this way Stuart Hall (1997) defines culture). With the clock a particularly homogenous time is initiated. But the clock is not time itself. The clock symbolises a time that is standardised in a particular kind of society in which simultaneous action is ever important. And still Standard Time is only a social reality by the simultaneous experience and action of several individuals. Yet, this recognition does again only stress the fact that many will refuse to get out of bed tomorrow when the alarm rings without causing the end of time O n t o l o g y a n d T i m e The meaning of time has always been negotiated and debated from different perspectives within various periodical frameworks. But there is always one dominating version of the nature of time widely affirmed on the different levels of a given society. In the end of the 19 th century and in the early 20 th century, the rationalists conception of an objective and external time that had been dominating both the scientific, artistic and social field since the Enlightenment was revised and at times even completely rejected, that is, both the physical, social and cultural meanings of time and space were questioned. In the book The Culture of Time and Space: (1983) Stephen Kern decribes ideas put forward in the late 19 th and early 20 th century that have contributed to the construction of the contemporary Western temporal category. These were created in reaction to a Newtonian singular, homogenous and absolute time and universe, 19

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