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Hypermedia: modes of communication in world order transformation Deibert, Ronald James 1995

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HYPERMEDIA:Modes of Communication in World Order TransformationbyRONALD JAMES DEIBERTB.A., The University of British Columbia, 1988M.A., Queen’s University, 1990A THESIS SUBMITfED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Political ScienceWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJUNE 1995© Ronald James DeibertIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shalt make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department of______________The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, Canada(Signature)Date •3c), (71iDE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTDespite that we are in the midst of profound changes in communications technologies,there is a remarkable gap in the International Relations literature devoted to exploring theimplications of these changes. In part, this can be attributed to the discipline’s conservativetendencies; generally, International Relations theorists have resisted studying major discontinuityin the international system. The few studies that do attempt to account for change typicallyfocus on modes of production or destruction as determinant variables. Though there are rareexceptions, many of them also tend towards a form of mono-causal reductionism. Whenconsidered at all, communications technologies are viewed through the prism of, or are reducedto, these other factors. This study seeks to remedy this gap by examining the relationshipbetween large-scale shifts in modes of communication and “world order” transformation -- thestructure or architecture of political authority at a world-level.Drawing from the work of various “medium theory” scholars, such as Harold Innis andMarshall McLuhan, the study outlines an open-ended, non-reductive theory at the core of whichis the argument that changes in modes of communication facilitate and constrain social forcesand ideas latent in society. This hypothesized process can be likened to the interaction betweenspecies and a changing natural environment: new communications environments “favour” certainsocial forces and ideas by means of a functional bias towards some and not others, much thesame as environments determine which species prosper by “selecting” for certain physicalcharacteristics. In other words, social forces and ideas survive differentially according to their“fitness” or match with the new communications environment -- a process that is both openended and contingent.11The study is organized into two parts: Part one examines the relationship betweenprinting and the medieval to modem world order transformation in Europe; Part two examinesthe relationship between new digital-electronic-telecommunications (called “hypermedia”) andthe modem to postmodern world order transformation. The study suggests that the hypermediacommunications environment is contributing to the dissolution of modern world order byfacilitating the transnationalization of production, the globalization of finance, the rise ofcomplex, non-territorial social networks, and the de-massification of “national” identities. Thehypermedia environment is also helping to re-focus security concerns from an inter-national toan intra-planetary context. While it is far too early to provide a clear outline of the emergingpostmodern world order, the trends that are unearthed in this study point away from single massidentities, linear political boundaries, and exclusive jurisdictions centred on territorial spaces,and towards multiple identities and non-territorial communities, overlapping boundaries, andnon-exclusive jurisdictions.111Table of ContentsAbstract iiTable of Contents ivAcknowledgement viiiINTRODUCTION 1Chapter One Medium Theory, Ecological Holism, and theTransformation of World Order 25International Relations theory andcommunications 27Medium theory 30Theory and epistemology 37a. Towards a non-reductionist medium theory 38b. Two effects: distributional changes andchanges to social epistemology 43Ecological holism and medium theory 49Ecological holism, medium theory, andInternational Relations theory 53Notes 58PART ONE PRINTING AND THE MEDIEVAL TO MODERNWORLD ORDER TRANSFORMATION 67Chapter Two From the Parchment Codex to the Printing Press:The Sacred Word and the Rise and Fall of MedievalTheocracy 68The sanctity of the written word 70The rise and fall of medieval theocracy 75ivStructural characteristics of the Church’shegemony in the High Middle Ages 80Counter-hegemonic forces and the declineof the Church 86The printing press 90Conclusion 92Notes 93Chapter Three Print and the Medieval to Modern World OrderTransformation: Distributional Changes 100The new media environment and the dissolutionof the old order 102a. The Protestant Reformation 102b. Scientific humanism 110The new media environment and the constitutionof the new order 116a. From the oath to the contract 117b. The emergence of modem state bureaucracies 125Conclusion 133Notes 134Chapter Four Print and the Medieval to Modem World OrderTransformation: Changes to Social Epistemology 142a. Individual identity 143b. Spatial biases 151c. Imagined communities 155Conclusion 161Notes 163VPART TWO HYPERMEDIA AND THE MODERN TO POSTMODERNWORLD ORDER TRANSFORMATION 169Chapter Five Transformation in the Mode of Communication:The Emergence of the Hypermedia Environment 170The pre-history of hypermedia: technologicaland sociological roots 173The Cold War and military research and development 178The properties of the hypermedia environment 185Conclusion 198Notes 200Chapter Six Hypermedia and the Modern to Postmodern World OrderTransformation: Distributional Changes 208I. International economics: the transnationalizationof production and finance 209a. Transnational production 209b. The emergence of global finance 222State autonomy in a global economy 232II. Transnational Social Movements in theHypermedia Environment 234III. The Nature of Security in the HypermediaEnvironment 242Hypermedia and the RealState: an electronicPanopticon? 244The emergence of planetary surveillance 251Conclusion 255Notes 257viChapter Seven Hypermedia and the Modern to Postmodern World OrderTransformation: Changes to Social Epistemology 272The rise of postmodernist thought 275a. Individual identities 277b. Spatial biases 283c. Imagined communities 291Conclusion 299Notes 301CONCLUSION 308BIBLIOGRAPHY 325Appendix A Figure 1 360viiAcknowledgementThere is more than a little irony in submitting a dissertation in which I argue that notions of“authorship” are now being undermined in the hypermedia environment. However, it certainlymakes me feel more compelled than ever to recognize and acknowledge those who havecontributed in some way or another to the construction of this study. And there are many.First, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my advisor and friend, Mark Zacher. Mark hashelped me along every step of this study, and through my tenure in the Ph.D. program. He hasbeen an unwavering supporter and a diligent critic. His integrity and his enthusiasm for thediscipline are a constant source of inspiration. No student could hope for a better advisor. Iwould also like to thank the many people who have read various versions and pieces of the textthrough its many different lives, including Dan Deudney, David Elkins, Paul Heyer, Kal Hoisti,Tsuyoshi Kawasaki, Richard Matthew, Richard Price, and Hendrick Spruyt. Special thanks goto three individuals with whom I engage regularly in on-line discussions: Darcy Cutler, RodneyBruce Hall, and Neal Roese. All three have contributed in countless valuable ways to mythinking on the many different topics that are covered in this study. I would also like to thankand acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Councilof Canada, and The Canadian Department of National Defence/Military and Strategic Studiesprogram. I am very grateful to the Institute of International Relations, and especially itsDirector, Brian Job, for help in numerous ways. Finally, and most importantly, I would liketo thank my wife, Anna, for her patience, encouragement, support and humour. It is to her, andto my daughters Emily and Rosalind, that I dedicate this dissertation, and to whom I now turnto have some fun.viiiIntroductionThere is an emerging consensus among a growing body of scholars that the present erais one in which fundamental change is occurring. Among International Relations theorists,1 forexample, John Ruggie has argued that we are witnessing “a shift not in the play of power politicsbut of the stage on which that play is performed.”2 Similarly, James Rosenau contends that thepresent era constitutes an historical breakpoint leading to a “postinternational politics”3 whileMark Zacher has traced the “decaying pillars of the Westphalian temple.”4 This belief inepochal change is mirrored outside of the mainstream of International Relations theory in, forexample, pronouncements of a coming “information age,”5 “post-industrialism,”6 “postfordism,”7or, more generally, “postmodernism.”8While these analyses differ widely in termsof their respective foci and theoretical concerns, there is at least one common thread runningthrough each of them: the recognition that current transformations are deeply intertwined withdevelopments in communications technologies -- popularly known as the “informationrevolution.”Communication is vital to social cohesion. The ability to communicate complex symbolsand ideas is generally considered to be one of the distinguishing characteristics of the humanspecies. Yet in the International Relations field little or no attention has been given to the widerimplications of large-scale shifts in the means through which humans communicate. In part, thiscan be attributed to the discipline’s conservative tendencies; as Ruggie points out, InternationalRelations theorists are not “very good. . . at studying the possibility of fundamental discontinuityin the international system.”9 The few studies that do attempt to account for change in the1international system typically focus on developments in either modes of production or destructionas determinant variables.10 Although there are rare exceptions, many of them also tend towardsa form of mono-causal reductionism; when considered at all, communications technologies areviewed through the prism of, or are reduced to, these other factors. Even in analyses that pointto the independent role of “ideas” or “knowledge” in shaping various aspects of world politics,little corresponding attention is given to the specific form in which ideas and knowledge arestored, transmitted, and distributed.1’ Such an oversight runs at variance with the historicalrecord, where even a quick glance suggests that important historical junctures coincide withmajor changes in communications technologies. To take just a few examples:* the so-called “Great Leap Forward” some 35,000 years ago -- the evolutionaryjuncture at which modern peoples replaced Neanderthals -- coincides withphysiological changes in the vocal tract that permitted the spoken word;* the invention of writing coincides with the development of the first civilizationin the form of the city-states of ancient Sumeria;* the development of the alphabet and the spread of literacy ca 700 b.c. in ancientGreece coincides with the onset of the Greek enlightenment;* the development of moveable type and the spread of printing in western Europecoincides with the Renaissance and early Modernity.The main argument that I will pursue in this study is that these coincidences are, in fact,no mere coincidence at all; that changes in modes of communication -- the various technologicalchannels by which information is stored and exchanged -- have significant implications for theevolution of society and politics at a world order level. In making this argument, I will beretrieving a theoretical position that has been largely absent from International Relationsliterature, but is one that has a long intellectual lineage -- this is “the history of communications2as an aspect of the general history of civilizations. “12 While its major proponents are associatedwith 20th century scholarship, the themes that are raised can be traced as far back as Rousseau,Locke, and even Plato. Its nuances and meta-theoretical orientation hark back to a late19th/early 20th centuries tradition of scholarship grounded in cultural evolutionary thinking,associated with Lewis Mumford, Gordon Childe, and Edward Tylor. However, it is theCanadian economic historian Harold Adam Innis who is generally recognized as the first to fullyarticulate and apply the theory. The core of this “medium theory” approach is aptly summarizedby Heyer:Loosely stated it refers to the belief that the transformation of basic informationinto knowledge is not a disembodied process. It is powerfully influenced by themanner of its material expression. In other words, the medium is never neutral.How we organize and transmit our perceptions and knowledge about the worldstrongly affects the nature of those perceptions and the way we come to know theworld.’3My objective in this study is to put forward a theoretical and analytical framework,derived and modified from the tradition of scholarship outlined above, and apply it to thequestion of world order transformation. As will be made clear throughout this study, mypurpose in doing so is not to assert that communications offers a “master key” to the unlockingof human history, nor is it even to argue for the priority of the mode of communication overother forces of change. Rather, it is to offer one interpretation concerning the relationshipbetween changes in modes of communication and world order transformation -- aproblematiquethat should be of central importance to International Relations theorists today, yet is not.In the remainder of this chapter I will provide a general introduction to the theoretical3backdrop and central focus of the study: the role of communications technologies in world ordertransformation. Because this level of analysis is unusual in comparison to the majority ofInternational Relations theorizing, a significant portion of the introduction will be spent situatingthis study as a contribution to what Charles Tilly refers to as “world-historical” research.14 Aswill be shown below, this study “problematizes” the taken-for-granted foundations and structuresthat are typically “assumed away” by most theorists. It requires, then, a “de-sensitization”exercise, one that strips away those presuppositions to provide an orientation for the analysis tofollow. Chapter one will then provide a more detailed overview of the theoretical perspectivethat informs this study.Theorizing the communications revolutionThat we are currently living through a revolutionary change in technologies ofcommunication is beyond dispute. The signs and evidence of this change are no more apparentthan in the technology that I use to write these words. With the touch of a few buttons, I couldsend this entire study within seconds to any one of millions of people around the planet. Witha few re-routing attachments, I could send it to thousands more at the same time many of whommight live thousands of miles apart from each other and from me. If I so desired, I could“enter” the Library of Congress in the United States -- without ever leaving my chair in NorthVancouver, Canada -- and access whatever it currently has stored in digital-electronic format,which is growing exponentially. Anecdotes and illustrations similar to those above are plentifuland well-known. But how do we understand -- amidst the maelstrom of changes occurring4around us -- the wider implications of these developments? How can we assess where we areheading? How do we do so without being swept up in the “hype”? In other words, where canwe find a proper framework or guide that will give us some perspective on the relationshipbetween these changes and society and politics at a world level?Those groping for answers to these questions would be hard pressed to find anypreliminary leads within the International Relations literature. There is no tradition ofInternational Relations scholarship that takes communications as its central focus. The onescholar who is an exception to this generalization -- Karl Deutsch -- wrote most of his studiesprior to the recent developments surrounding the so-called “information revolution.”5Moreover, as his work focused on measurableflows of communications across borders regardlessof the medium, it is of little or no use to those interested in changing communicationstechnologies. There are plenty of studies that allude to “information” or the “media,” but thesestudies typically subsume communications under a theoretical perspective that privileges otherindependent variables, such as the mode of production by Marxists and neo-Marxists, or weaponstechnology by security materialists.’6 And like Karl Deutsch’s analyses of communicationsflows, these studies ignore the constraints imposed and opportunities created by changes in modesof communication. More will be said about this dearth of scholarship in thecommunications/International Relations nexus in chapter one.Outside of the International Relations field there is, of course, plenty of popularspeculation about the impact of information technology on world politics, but the vast majority5can only be characterized as theoretically naive. Here, the problem is not so much a dearth ofscholarship as it is a surfeit of hyperbole. One finds the usual waltz of cranky Ludditism andblind optimism that seemingly accompanies every technological innovation of the last twocenturies, only now it is magnified a thousand-fold by the reproductive and distributive capacitiesof the communications technology itself!’7 Corralling this virtual stampede of publications issurely one of the more challenging tasks in writing a study such as this one. For example, JamesBeniger has listed with exasperation no less than 75 books written between 1950 and 1984dedicated to major societal transformations associated with new communications technologies.’8Depending on the author, we are now in the midst of, or are or transforming into, “posthistoricman,” “postcapitalist society,” the “end of ideology,” the “computer revolution,” the“postcivilized era,” the “age of discontinuity,” the “technetronic era,” a “republic of technology,”a “wired society,” and, of course, “the third wave.”19 In this headlong rush to grasp theimplications of a seemingly endless chain of improvements in the speed and scope ofcommunications, hype about “what’s in store” for us in the misty future -- what we will be ableto do -- typically displaces informed analyses of what is going on today, here and now.2°Depending on the moral proclivities of the author, the result is usually a well-worn rehearsal ofeither optimism or despair that makes for good science fiction, but poor analysis of contemporarytrends.One tradition of scholarship that does take as its central focus the impact of changingcommunications technology on society and politics falls under the rubric “medium theory.” Thisapproach is associated with (but by no means exclusive or original to) Marshall McLuhan,6arguably the most cited, but least understood, theorist of the “information age.”21 At the heartof medium theory is the argument that changes in modes of communication -- such as the shiftfrom primitive orality to writing or the shift from print to electronic communications -- have animportant effect on the trajectory of human evolution and the values and beliefs of humansociety. Medium theory traces these effects to the properties of the medium itself regardless ofthe content or the message being transmitted. In other words, each successive mode ofcommunication, it is argued, has a certain “logic” or “nature,” not in any determinist sense, butonly in the sense of making certain types of communication easier or more difficult.22 Ascommunication is such a vital part of human existence, a change in the mode of communicationwill have substantial effects on factors such as the distribution of power within society, the natureand character of individual and social cognition, and the values and beliefs that animate aparticular population.Medium theory has received less attention than one might expect given recentdevelopments in communications technology -- a neglect that is probably at least indirectlyrelated to the way it was introduced to a wider audience by its two main practitioners: HaroldAdam Innis (the “father” of modern communications and medium theory) and Marshall McLuhan(“the oracle of the electronic age”).23 Both theorists had a notoriously dense and complexwriting style-- a limitation that both invited misinterpretation and discouraged furtherinvestigation. Innis’ writings seem rushed -- as if they were working drafts for a larger projectthat was never completed before his relatively early death. McLuhan, on the other hand,practiced a self-conscious “mosaic” style of writing that consisted mostly of bullet-like aphoristic7probes designed to challenge the reader. However, one person’s “probe” is another’s “grossgeneralization.” While achieving widespread popular notoriety, McLuhan’ s work was receivedless kindly in academic circles -- a reflection perhaps not so much of the poverty of McLuhan’sanalysis as of the envy that seems to arise within academia when a scholar achieves widespreadfame. Whatever the root cause, by the time of McLuhan’s death in 1980 the substance ofmedium theory had been reduced to a few well-worn cliches, like the “global village” or “themedium is the message.” To this day most remain unaware of the theoretical grounds thatunderlie such claims.In chapter one, I provide a substantial elaboration and modification of medium theorydesigned to resurrect the core propositions of this approach while shedding those elements thathave come to be seen through criticism and the passage of time as misguided, overstated, ormerely tangential. The majority of these modifications and elaborations are attempts to “get backto the roots” of this approach, so to speak -- to unearth what I see as the evolutionary-anthropological grounds out of which medium theory developed. In doing so, I am linking thebasic postulates of medium theory to a much deeper tradition of scholarship that includes figuressuch as Lewis Mumford, Gordon Childe, and the French Annales school of medieval historians,associated with Fernand Braudel, Marc Bloch, and more recently Georges Duby and Jacques LeGoff. Embedding medium theory in this deeper tradition of scholarship enables me to articulatea more holistic view of the role of communications technology in human evolution, one that isable to confront and overcome the most basic perceived fault in medium theory: technologicaldeterminism. It also enables me to situate medium theory more clearly within the International8Relations field. As I will point out in chapter one, what I call the “ecological holist” positionthat underlies my version of medium theory aligns me closest to the work of historicists in thefield, such as John Ruggie, Robert Cox and Daniel Deudney. It also bears a close resemblanceto the social constructivist approaches developed by Alexander Wendt, Friedrich Kratochwil andNicholas Onuf. And it diverges fundamentally from the more ahistorical, rationalist approachesassociated with mainstream neo-realist and neo-liberal theories. Indeed, what I believe to be oneof the more important contributions of this study is the argument that the elements ofinternational politics which mainstream rationalist approaches presuppose to be “natural,”“essential,” and “unchanging” are, in fact, the products of historical contingencies and thussubject to change over time.The study of world order transformationFundamental changes, such as those being pursued here in communications, by definitionresonate throughout the whole of society leaving virtually nothing untouched. Presented withthis overwhelming scope of change, the analyst concerned with explaining specific relations mustnarrow the focus considerably. While medium theory has been applied in the past to a widerange of issue-areas at a variety of levels of analysis, my focus in this study is on the relationshipbetween changes in modes of communication and world order transformation. It is important,then, to specify clearly what is entailed by this analytical focus.When most people think of “international relations” they naturally think of the relations9between states or nations, be it in the form of war, trade, or diplomacy. Indeed, the majorityof scholarship in the International Relations field focuses on these very same types of questions -- that is, on the interactions between political units whose existence is more or less taken asunproblematic. Theories of international relations generally assume a basic structure -- they takefor granted the division of political authority into territorially-distinct sovereign states and theytheorize about the relations between those states. As Robert Cox has pointed out, this level ofanalysis is appropriate under conditions of “apparent stability or fixity in power relations,” whenthe basic structure of the system can be taken for granted.24 However, when fundamentalchange is thought to be occurring in the very parameters in which such interaction takes place,a deeper level of analysis is required, one that problematizes what is normally assumed away.This deeper level of analysis focuses on the structure of political authority at a world-level, or what is generally referred to as “world order.”25 Since this level of analysis occupiesa crucial place in this study, it may be useful to unpack “world order” and more carefullydelineate what is meant by the term. First, world order does not necessarily have to correspondto the planet as a whole; in other words, we can think of world order on a number of differentlevels, from fairly self-contained regional groupings to the globe itself. Second, world order,in its standard formulation, typically refers to the structure of political authority or system of rulefound in a specific world at a particular time in history.26 In general terms, it refers to the“basis on which the human species is socially individuated and individuals in turn bound togetherinto collectivities.”27 It does not focus on the ongoing, day-to-day relations between these units,nor even whether these day-to-day relations form some discernable recurring pattern -- say, the10predisposition towards bandwagoning under a particular distribution of power.28 Rather, itfocuses attention on the nature and spatial organization of the units themselves -- from the ideas,values and principles that sustain and underpin this organization to the institutional and functionalembodiments of the actual units of political authority.One way to help conceptualize the study of world order is by way of an architecturalanalogy. Different buildings typically employ a variety of principles and styles upon which spaceis ordered and rooms arranged and divided. Buildings also serve particular functions: stairwellsor exits are placed in strategic locations while hallways may be designed to accommodate largeflows of foot traffic, or conversely, to facilitate privacy and exclusion. An architect studyingthe spatial order of a particular building will not concern him or herself with the conversationsor relations of the people occupying the building, but will focus instead on the building itself,perhaps beginning with the social nuances and cultural styles that inform the design, moving nextto the general architectural principles that undergird the structure as a whole, and finallyoutlining in careful terms the division of space within the building - the number and arrangementof rooms and floors. Similarly, in an analysis of the architecture of world order, the concernis not so much with the relations between “units” of political authority as it is with theconstitution of the “units” themselves. Here, the focus is on the social nuances and styles thatgive meaning to order, to the principles and rules that constitute and legitimate politicalauthorities, and finally to the nature and character of the institutions that structure anddifferentiate the practice of political, economic, and social organization. The study of worldorder is thus above all the study of the organization of political space -- the architecture of11political authority-- at a world-level.While “political” authority is the prime focus, it is important to emphasize that a varietyof factors will influence the nature or character of a particular world order, including theorganization and production of subsistence, the provision of physical security, and the supply ofspiritual, religious, or other metaphysical yearnings. Consequently, the scope of this study isnecessarily wide-ranging and sociological, tracking a deep current of forces reaching well belowthe conventional horizons of the study of world politics. It is also important not to conflate whatare essentially our own theoretical categories with those of the substantive world order inquestion. In other words, we should not presuppose the “modern” distinction maintainedbetween “politics,” “economics,” and “religion” in the composition of past or future worldorders. For those living at the time these categories may be inextricably linked -- in fact, thevery distinction might have little or no conceptual currency in the language of the day. Thisheuristic focus on world order as “the structure of political authority” may even come to be seenin the passage of time as parochial and typically “modern” (a question I will entertain in theconclusion to this study), but it has not yet exhausted its intellectual value.By these terms, world order is an example of what is called the longue duree by theAnnales school of historians. As Ruggie points out, the longue duree does not refer simply toa long period of time: “It depicts the lives of large-scale historical structures, as opposed to dayto-day events, structures which may shape those events for extended periods of time.”29 Thesehistorical-structures become so much a part of the enduring practices of people that they “come12by them to be regarded as fixed attributes of human nature and social intercourse.”30 Ofcourse, they are not. We know as much because not all systems of rule throughout the courseof human history have assumed the same form. In other words, there have been “breakingpoints” between past world orders where the architecture of political authority has undergonetransformation. Whether or not the current period can be defined as one of those breaking pointsis a question that is occupying a considerable amount of scholarly attention in the field.This study is organized into two symmetrical parts, both of which examine therelationship between changing communications technologies and world order transformation.Part one focuses on the development of printing and the medieval to modern world ordertransformation in Europe. Part two examines the role of new digital-electronic-telecommunications -- what I refer to as hypermedia -- in the modern to postmodern world ordertransformation. My intention is to establish that communications technologies are the “primemovers” or sole variables driving these transformations. Rather, it is to view thesetransformations through the lens of changing communications technologies. In doing so, Ibelieve that I will be able not only to fill a gap in the scholarly literature on the impact ofcommunications technologies, but also to provide some perspective on the general question ofworld order transformation today. Communications technologies are unique insofar as they areimplicated in all spheres of human interaction -- from production to security to knowledge andculture. As a consequence, changes in communications technologies both influence, and providea window on, changes in other spheres of life. In focusing on changes in modes ofcommunication, then, we may be able to gain insight into the nature and direction of world order13transformation as a whole. In setting the stage for the analysis to follow, the remainder of thischapter provides a general description of the medieval and the modern world orders.The architecture of the medieval and modern world ordersGeneralizing about the architecture of medieval world order is an inherently dangerousenterprise. Gone are the days when the “Middle Ages” was viewed in static, sterile terms as amonolithic entity. The trend in medieval studies today is towards an affirmation of culturaldiversity and idiosyncrasy, a view of life from the “bottom up,” so to speak.31 Structuralfeatures invariably tend to mask this rich complexity and diversity of medieval life, so there isalways a risk of running roughshod over a thicket of contradictory nuances between different erasand regions that might diverge from the more general pattern. However, the study of structuresby definition necessitates a degree of generalization in order to “give expression to phenomenadeeper than everyday reality and to capture movement of a slower tempo.”32 At the risk ofnecessarily side-stepping important contextual details and “numberless tiny areas,”33 some broadgeneralizations about the form of world order during the High to late Middle Ages (a periodrunning roughly from the 11th to the 15th centuries) can be made that would probably findagreement among most medievalists.34Despite the existence of competing and overlapping local and regional sentiments, it issafe to say that all of western Europe at this time defined itself as part of a single spiritualcommunity. “Almost all medieval men moved contradictorily between two sets of horizons,”14notes Le Goff, “the limited horizons of the clearing in which they lived, and the distant horizonsof the whole of Christendom.”35 In cosmological terms this spiritual community was orderedhierarchically, “a Great Chain of Being” with the Church poised at the top of the apex -- anintermediary between God and temporal life.36 It was a society deeply imbued with religionfrom top to bottom, one in which the “destinies of man and the universe” were perceived withinboundaries “traced by a Westernized Christian theology and eschatology. . .Although the unity of Christendom provided a broad sense of common identity, especiallyin relation to the non-Christian world, it never crystallized into a single political structure, in partbecause “the actual social structure of power, the difficulties of travel and communication, theconfused pattern of local and regional differences prevented any such expression.”38 Latemedieval political rule was characterized by multiple and overlapping layers of authority, restingprimarily on hierarchical and personalized feudal relations, with often competing jurisdictionsamong various social and cultural cells. In Perry Anderson’s words, it was “a jungle ofparticularist dependencies.”39 In most cases, vertical and horizontal powers were entangledwithin the same non-exclusive territorial spheres, making it difficult to determine to which of themany lords, churches, towns or princes people were subordinate.40In the medieval world order, no sharp demarcation was made between the “inside” and“outside,” or between “private” and “public” realms, as each blended seamlessly into the otherin a patchwork of personalized jurisdictions. The modern notion of dividing political space intomutually exclusive sovereign political entities would have been considered by philosophers of the15time as a “repulsive anarchy, a contradiction to their basic assumption of a hierarchically ordereduniverse -- almost a blasphemy.”4’ If there was any clear dividing line that cut through societyit was a tn-functional one, as Duby has explained, between those who prayed, those who fought,and those who laboured.42 Although in formal terms the late medieval period was anarchic (i.e.,there was no single supreme political authority), it was one in which the constituent unitsconsidered themselves to be “municipal embodiments of a universal community.”43 This senseof inclusive rights and overlapping jurisdictions provided the distinctive characteristics of thearchitecture of medieval world order. As Ruggie aptly describes it, the medieval world order“represented a heteronomous organization of territorial rights and claims -- of political space.”44The transformation from this medieval heteronomous structure to the modern world ofterritorially-distinct, mutually-exclusive sovereign nation-states was a slow process encompassingchanges that span centuries. Although theorists traditionally date the modern states system to thePeace of Westphalia in 1648, there is no one single year that signals its emergence, making theassigning of a time-line somewhat arbitrary. For years elements of what might be considered“medieval” co-existed with what are now considered benchmarks of the “modern.”45Furthermore, within this transformation no single overarching variable stands apart as a primarydriving force; instead the origins of the modern world order lay in what Michael Mann calls “agigantic series of coincidences.”46 Drawing from the Annales school, Ruggie’s recent essay onthe medieval to modern transformation provides an outstanding overview of some of thesemultifaceted “coincidences,” beginning first with base material changes in eco-demographics andthe environment, moving upwards to military and productive technologies, to explorations and16travels, to shifts in strategic and commercial relations, and resting finally on important changesin mentalites collectives. Assigning weight to different variables within this complex may besomewhat futile if not misguided given the interwoven series of contingencies involved. At bestwhat we might conclude from the medieval-to-modern transformation is that “when the creationof a new mental attitude falls together with extensive material and economic changes, somethingsignificant happens.”47 The result, over a period of centuries, was the emergence of the modernworld order: territorially-distinct, mutually-exclusive, sovereign nation-states.The key feature of the modern world order is implicit in the definition above -- theparcellization and segmentation of all economic, social, and cultural activity into mutually-exclusive, functionally-similar political entities, or territorial “bundles.”48 At a more specificlevel, the transformation entailed the creation of centralized state bureaucracies that ruledterritorial spaces from a single centre. As part of this “centring” process, the medieval ChristianCommonwealth was atomized into discrete community identifications centred first on the personof the monarch, and later on national-linguistic ties, or the “nation.” At its foundation, however,the division of political authority into territorially-distinct, sovereign nation-states defined thearchitecture of modern world order in Europe.49This mode of organizing political space spread gradually through imitation and force toencompass eventually the entire planet by the 20th century, and it was strongly re-affirmedfollowing de-colonization in the mid-1950s.5° Today it stands as the dominant “paradigm” ofworld order at a global level.5’ The institutional depth of this paradigm is strong, as evidenced17by the wide range of social, political, and economic activities that reinforce it daily. At the mostbasic level, the overwhelming majority of people around the world vote in a single state, carrypassports of a single state, and consider themselves to be citizens and thus subject to thegovernment and laws of a particular sovereign state.52 Breaches of sovereign territorialboundaries are still strongly condemned, as revealed by the international community’s reactionto the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.53 And the majority of independence movements around theworld still overwhelmingly define their political goals in terms of sovereign aspirations. It waswith these many interlocking ideas and social practices in mind that Stephen Krasner concludedthat “The breadth of the state in terms of its links with other social entities, and the depth of thestate reflected in the very concept of citizenship as a basic source of individual identity, makeit very hard to dislodge.”54However, as pointed out in the opening pages of this introduction, a number of scholarsare now beginning to question the continued viability of this mode of organizing political space.Environmental, economic, military, technological, and social changes are among the manyfactors that are now seen as presenting fundamental challenges to the architecture of modernworld order.55 It is in the hope of contributing in a constructive way to this debate that thisstudy is put forth. As will be revealed in the pages to follow, the conclusions reached in thisstudy strongly suggest that many of those interlocking elements that have traditionally providedthe “institutional depth” for the modern world order paradigm are being rapidly dismantled. Thearchitecture of political authority is in the process of being reconstructed. While it is far tooearly to provide a clear outline of that emerging world order, the trends that are unearthed in this18study point away from single mass identities, linear political boundaries, and exclusivejurisdictions centred on territorial spaces, and towards multiple identities and non-territorialcommunities, overlapping boundaries, and non-exclusive jurisdictions. Whether thesedevelopments continue in this direction or not depends on a variety of contingent factors in thefuture. But certainly changes in communications technologies occurring today suggest they will.Notes1.Throughout this study, I will use the upper-case “International Relations” when referring totheorists or the discipline itself and the lower-case “international relations” when referring toactual relations between modern states or nations.2.John Gerard Ruggie, “Territoriality and beyond: problematizing modernity in internationalrelations,t’International Organization 47 (Winter 1993), pp. 139-140.3.James N. Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics: A theory of change and continuity,(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).4.Mark Zacher, “The decaying pillars of the Westphalian temple: implications for internationalorder and governance,” James N. Rosenau and Ernst-Otto Czempiel, (eds.) Governance withoutGovernment: Order and Change in World Politics, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1992), pp. 58-101.5.Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War: survival at the dawn of the 21st century,(Boston: Little Brown, 1993); and Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave, (London, Pan Books, 1983).6.Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, (NewYork: Basic Books, 1973).7.See David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989); AlainLipietz, Mirages and Miracles: The Crisis of Global Capitalism, (London: Verso, 1987); andMichael Piore and Charles Sabel, The Second Industrial Divide, (New York: Oxford UniversityPress, 1984).198.See Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge,(Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1984); Richard Rorty, Contingency. Irony andSolidarity, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); and Barry Smart, ModernConditions. Postmodern Controversies, (New York: Routledge Press, 1992). For more extensivecitations on the topic of postmodernism, see chapter eight of this study where the topic will bedealt with at greater length.9. Ruggie, “Territoriality,” pp. 143-144.10.See, for example, Paul Baran, The Political Economy of Growth, (New York: ModernReader Paperbacks, 1957); Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: CapitalistAgriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century, (NewYork: Academic Press, 1974); Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics, (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1981); William McNeil!, The Pursuit of Power: Technology.Armed Forces and Society Since A.D. 1000, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984);Charles Tilly, Coercion. Capital. and European States. AD 990 - 1990, (Cambridge: BasilBlackwell, 1990); and Daniel Deudney, “Dividing Realism: Security Materialism vs. StructuralRealism on Nuclear Security and Proliferation,” Security Studies, (Vol. 2, Nos. 3/4,Spring/Summer 1993).11 .On “ideas” and “knowledge” in the shaping of world politics, see Peter Haas, “Introduction:epistemic communities and international policy coordination,” International Organization 46(Winter 1992), pp. 1-35; and Joshua Goldstein and Robert Keohane, (eds.) Ideas and ForeignPolicy, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), especially the article by John A. Hall, “Ideasand the Social Sciences,” pp. 3 1-54.12.Paul Heyer, Communications and History: Theories of Media. Knowledge, and Civilization,(New York: Greenwood Press, 1988), p. xiii.13.Ibid., p. xiv.14.Charles Tilly, Big Structures. Large Processes. Huge Comparisons, (New York: Russell SageFoundation, 1984), p. 61.15.See Karl Deutsch, The Nerves of Government: Models of Political Communication andControl, (New York: Free Press, 1963); and Karl Deutsch, Nationalism and SocialCommunication, (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1966). A more detailed overview ofDeutsch’s work will follow in chapter one.16.See the works cited in note 10, above. A more extensive discussion and overview of thetreatment of communications in International Relations will follow in chapter two.17.Two studies that provide insightful overviews of the way past innovations in communicationstechnologies were heralded as either the harbingers of utopia or despair are James Carey,Communication and Culture: Essays on Media and Society, (New York: Routledge Press, 1989);20and Ithiel de Sola Pool, “Foresight and Hindsight: The Case of the Telephone,” in The SocialImpact of the Telephone, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1976).18.James R. Beniger, The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of theInformation Society, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), pp. 4-5. Despite the title,which suggests yet another prophetic leap into the void, Beniger’ s analysis is one of the moreinteresting and balanced approaches to developments in communications technologies.19.Roderick Seidenberg, Posthistoric Man: An Inquiry, (Chapel Hill: University of NorthCarolina Press, 1950); Raif Dahrendorf, Class and Class Conflict in an Industrial Society,(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1959); Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology: On theExhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties, (New York: Basic Books, 1960); Edmund Berkeley,The Computer Revolution, (New York: Doubleday, 1962); Kenneth E. Boulding, The Meaningof the Twentieth Century: The Great Transition, (New York: Harper and Row, 1964); PeterDrucker, The Age of Discontinuity, (New York: Harper and Row, 1969); Zbigniew Brzezinski,Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, (New York: Viking Press, 1970);Daniel J. Boorstin, The Republic of Technology: Reflections on Our Future Community, (NewYork: Harper and Row, 1978); James Martin, Wired Society, (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,1978); and Toffler, The Third Wave. In listing these works together I do not want to give theimpression that they are all somehow equally insightful or impoverished as the case may be. Iam merely illustrating the accumulation of literature addressing some aspect of epochal changein the last few decades. For similar frustrations, see W. Russell Neuman, The future of the massaudience, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 5-6.20. “prophecies tend to take the place of analysis” as Castells puts it. See Manuel Castells, ThInformational City: Information Technology. Economic Restructuring, and the Urban-RegionalProcess, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), p. 1.21 .Apart from other works cited by McLuhan throughout this study, see especially MarshallMcLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962); andUnderstanding Media: The Extensions of Man, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964).22.Neuman, The Future of the Mass Audience, p. 48.23.For Innis,see Empire and Communications, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1950); andThe Bias of Communication, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951).24.Robert W. Cox, “Social Forces, States and World Order: Beyond International RelationsTheory,” in Robert 0. Keohane, (ed.) Neorealism and its Critics, (New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 1986), p. 210.25.For various discussions on world order, see Cox, “Social Forces, States and World Orders”;Robert W. Cox, “Towards a Post-Hegemonic Conceptualization of World Order: Reflections onthe Relevancy of Ibn Khaldun,” in Rosenau and Czempiel, (eds.) Governance withoutGovernment; Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics,21(London: Macmillan Press, 1977); Hedley Bull and Adam Watson, (eds.) The Expansion ofInternational Society, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984); Adam Watson, The Evolutionof International Society, (New York: Routledge Press, 1992); and Daniel Deudney, “BindingPowers, Bound States: The Logic and Geopolitics of Negarchy,” (Paper presented at theInternational Studies Association meeting, Washington D.C. March 28 - April 2, 1994).26. This definition is derived from the works listed in the previous note. It should be apparentthat according to this definition “order” is not necessarily synonymous with the absence ofconflict. Even anarchic systems in which war is a prominent feature are still “world orders” bythis definition. For discussions on this point in particular, see Bull, The Anarchical Society,ch. 1; and Cox, “Post-Hegemonic Conceptualization of World Order,” pp. 136-137.27.John Gerard Ruggie, “Finding our Feet’ in Territoriality: International Transformation in theMaking,” (Mimeo: 1990), p. 3; See also Ruggie, “Territoriality,” p. 148.28. Cf. Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics, (New York: Random House, 1979);Robert Jervis and Jack Snyder, (eds) Dominoes and Bandwagons, (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1991).29.Ruggie, “Finding our Feet,” p. 7; See also, John Gerard Ruggie, “International Structureand International Transformation: Space, Time and Method,” in Ernst Otto-Czempiel and JamesN. Rosenau, (eds.) Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges: Approaches to World Politicsfor the 1990s, (Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath/Lexington Books, 1989), p. 29. For Braudel andthe langue duree see Fernand Braudel, On History, [transi. Sarah Matthews] (Chicago: TheUniversity of Chicago Press, 1980); and Stuart Clark, “The Annales historians,” in QuentinSkinner, (ed.) The Return of Grand Theory in the Human Sciences, (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1985), pp. 177-198.30.Cox, “Social Forces, States and World Orders,” p. 246.31.For expressions of this trend in medieval studies, see Norman Cantor, Inventing the MiddleAges: The Lives, Works and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century, (NewYork: Quill William Morrow, 1991).32.Ruggie, “International Structure and International Transformation” in Czempiel and Rosenau,(eds.) Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges, p. 21.33.Jacques Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 95.34.Periodization is tricky business when it comes to the Middle Ages. Although there is aconsiderable amount of scholarly debate about the proper situating of time-lines and the essentialdifferences between eras, I have chosen to follow the convention of dividing the Middle Agesinto three periods: the early Middle Ages, running roughly from the fall of Rome in the 4thcentury to the 10th or 11 century; the High Middle Ages, which runs from the 11th through the13th centuries; and the late Middle Ages, running from the 14th to the 15th centuries. For22discussion, see Umberto Eco, Travels in Hvper Reality, [transl. by William Weaver] (New York:HBJ Books, 1983), PP. 73-75; and Cantor, Inventing the Middle Ages, ch. 1.35.Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 95.36.See Arthur Lovejoy, The Great Chain of Being, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UniversityPress, 1957).37.Marc Bloch, Feudal Society, Vol. 1, [transi. by L.A. Manyon] (Chicago: The University ofChicago Press, 1960), p. 81.38.Garrett Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy, (London: Cape Publishers, 1955), pp. 19-20.39.Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State, (London: NLB, 1974), p. 33.40.Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 96.41.Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy, p. 26.42.Georges Duby, The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined, [trans. Arthur Goidhammer](Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 150.43.John Gerard Ruggie, “Continuity and Transformation in the World Polity: Toward aNeorealist Synthesis,” in Robert 0. Keohane (ed.) Neorealism and its Critics, (New York:Columbia University Press, 1986), p. 143.44 .Ibid.45.See on this score, Jacques Le Goff, The Medieval Imagination, [transi. by ArthurGoldhammer] (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), especially the section entitled “Foran Extended Middle Ages.”46.Michael Mann “The Rise of the European State,” in James Anderson, (ed.) The Rise of theModern State, (Sussex: Wheatsheaf Books, 1986), p. 16.47.John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, (New York: Mentor Books, 1950), p. 53.48.On “bundles” as a metaphor for modern world order, see David J. Elkins, BeyondSovereignty: Territory and Political Economy in the Twenty-First Century, (Toronto: Universityof Toronto Press, 1995); and Friedrich Kratochwil, “Of Systems, Boundaries, and Territoriality:An Inquiry into the Formation of the State System,” World Politics 34 (October 1986), pp. 27-52.49.For a comprehensive overview, see Ruggie, “Territoriality.”2350.See Gerrit, W. Gong, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1984); and Robert H. Jackson, Quasi-States: Sovereignty. InternationalRelations and the Third World, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). For a usefuloverview of the changes in the notion of “sovereignty” as a world ordering principle, see J.Samuel Barkin and Bruce Cronin, “The state and nation: changing norms and rules ofsovereignty in international relations,” International Organization 48 (Winter 1994), pp. 107-130.51.1 use the word “paradigm” here to underscore that while the modern world order may be thepredominant “way-of-seeing” the world for most people, it may be one that no longer providesa useful mental map of the emerging postmodern practices of world politics. In Kratochwil’swords, there is presently a “disjunction between the organizing principles and social reality.”Kratochwil, “Of Systems, Boundaries and Territoriality,” p. 27. Such “conceptual barriers” topostmodern world order will be the focus of the concluding chapter to this study.52.Richard Falk, “Sovereignty,” in Joel Krieger (ed.) The Oxford Companion to Politics of theWorld, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).53. For an affirmation of this view, see Robert H. Jackson, “Dialectical Justice in the Gulf War,”Review of International Studies, (Vol. 18, No. 4, 1992), pp. 335-354.54.Stephen D. Krasner, “Sovereignty: An Institutional Perspective,” Comparative PoliticalStudies, (Vol. 21, No. 1, April 1988), p. 90.55.Although space precludes a detailed overview, in the concluding chapter I will outline brieflysome of the other studies that point to world order transformation today. For a morecomprehensive overview, see Zacher, “The Decaying Pillars of the Westphalian Temple.”24Chapter One: Medium Theory. Ecological Holism.and the Transformation of World OrderIntroductionThe poverty of the many existing, mostly speculative analyses of the “informationrevolution” reveals the inherent difficulties of assessing sweeping changes as they unfold.Without the confidence of hindsight, and with no God’ s-eye vantage point, theory becomes anessential, though necessarily context-bound, tool by which to bring order to the apparent chaosthat floods from abrupt ruptures in human institutions. Given the lack of attention traditionallygiven to communications by International Relations scholarship, my first steps in this directionmust lead out of the International Relations field and across disciplinary boundaries -- apotentially dangerous expedition, though one that also offers the prospect of shaking loosedogmatic assumptions riveted in place by prolonged and artificial disciplinary closure.’At the same time, it is important to recognize that approaches lifted from other fields arelikely to suffer their own peculiar deficiencies. We should be careful to avoid cross-disciplinaryhero-worship for its own sake. At the very least, it is unlikely that any theory devised withina particular discursive field with its own set of problems can be transplanted wholesale to anotherwithout significant modification. To accommodate my own specific problematique, therudimentary insights of Innis, McLuhan, and other medium theorists will be embedded in anevolutionary approach called “ecological holism.” Although the label is new, the approach itselfactually synthesizes and expounds what is already implicit in the work of many medium theorists25-- that is, an open-ended, non-reductionist, thoroughly historicist view of human existence thatemphasizes contingency over continuity both in terms of the trajectory of human developmentand the nature and character of human beings. As will be made clear below, while this approachdiffers in significant ways from mainstream International Relations theorizing, it does findresonance in the work of at least one prominent theorist -- namely, John Ruggie -- and hasimportant commonalities with others as well.In this chapter, I begin with an overview of the extant literature on communicationswithin the International Relations field. As will be revealed below, there is a dearth ofscholarship that takes communications as its central focus. Moreover, what little exists is eitherflawed in significant ways, or is improperly designed for my central task: an examination of therelationship between changes in communication technology and social and political change at aworld-order level. I then outline the central tenets of medium theory, and offer a profile of someof the main contributors to this approach, including the issues to which they have applied theirinsights. Using the various criticisms of medium theory as a backdrop, I then put forward asubstantial elaboration and modification of medium theory, tailoring it to the specific concernsof the study, and situating it more clearly within the traditional International Relations field. Theanalytical scheme used to organize the research that follows in the ensuing chapters will emergefrom the modifications made to medium theory.26International relations theory and communicationsThere is no distinct “school” or “paradigm” of communications within the field ofInternational Relations. In fact, there are few International Relations theorists of communicationat all (the one important exception being Karl Deutsch). Individual theorists may allude tocommunication or information in their studies, but rare are the cases where an overtlycommunications approach is adopted. Despite the fact that the communications/InternationalRelations nexus remains underdeveloped, some distinct themes or issue-areas can be identifiedwhere the interaction between the two is given more than passing notice.To the limited extent International Relations theorists have dealt with communicationsexplicitly, the focus has primarily been on content to the exclusion of technology -- the inverseof the theoretical perspective to be employed here. For example, considerable work has beendone on propaganda as an instrument of foreign policy, noting the way in which a state willmanipulate messages to garner international support or undermine foes.2 Other studies workingin the content vein have focused on media representations, or the “framing” of internationalevents, and the way in which these representations may influence domestic opinion and thusforeign policy outcomes.3 These particular approaches were common during and after theVietnam War, when the novelty of “the first televised war” captured the attention of manyscholars.4 An important subset of this approach includes the many studies that examine therelationship between content and situation. In this group we would find studies oncommunication during crises;5 intercultural communications;6 communications in negotiations27and bargaining;7 and war-time and/or diplomatic communications.8A further subset of the content-based approaches includes those that deal with control.Work in this area typically examines the way in which ownership of media creates an ideologicalbias that circumscribes and shapes debate to further the interests of capital or the state.9 Forexample, the Gramscian school of International Relations theory places considerable emphasison the relationship between control over media and cultural hegemony by transnationalAnother common focus of control-based approaches is the way in which flows of informationdeepen and solidify structures of dependency between the information-rich North and theinformation-poor South.1’ Policy proposals designed to rectify this imbalance, such as that fora New World Information Order, were a direct outgrowth of the conclusions reached by thesetheorists.’2 Control-based studies thus tend to emphasize the way in which communicationflows threaten “cultural sovereignty” or state autonomy while extending cultural imperialism.’3While the focus of these analyses is on control of the medium, the intent of the analysis is toreveal the way such control determines content, which is the ultimate concern. Withoutdisparaging the relative merit of such perspectives, it is enough to note that they are not designedto uncover the relationship between changing communications technology and social and politicalorder, and are thus unhelpful for understanding such a concern.Not all of the work on communications by International Relations theorists dealsexclusively with content; the pioneering work by Karl Deutsch on communications flows is animportant exception.’4 Probably the single figure most identifiable with the28communications/International Relations nexus, Deutsch constructed a formidable and innovativebody of work unique for the central role given to communicative interaction in the explanationof political behaviour. Opening any of Deutsch’s many works, the reader cannot help but bestruck by a sharp contrast: on the one hand, Deutsch crafts elegant historical interpretations, richin detail, as backdrops for his analysis; when his attention turns to explanation, however, anoverarching, almost obsessive compulsion for statistical rigour predominates. This concern forthe quantitative is so strong that Deutsch’s formal analysis of communication is restricted onlyto that part of the communication process that can be measured: flow. For Deutsch,communication flows determine the level of national and international integration. Concentratedclusters of communication patterns -- measured in terms of the density and flow of postal ortelephone exchanges, for example -- distinguish separate communities. The unevenness of thisdistribution helps explain why nationalism is so prevalent in world politics. The flip side of thisequation -- and the explanation for integration, according to Deutsch -- is that the density of theflow determines the scope of the community. As flows increase, parochialism dissolves.The main problem with Deutsch’s analysis is that it adopted a naive view of theassimilative tendencies of increased communication. Extrapolating from Deutsch’s hypotheses,one would expect a single community of humanity as communication becomes more dense, fromtribes to nations to regions to supranations. Yet the opposite is as often the case. Increasedcommunication flow does not, by necessity, lead to common identities.’5 Flow by itself tellsus little about the nature of the interaction. In other words, rather than seductive integration,hostile backlashes can just as often ensue as a result of increased intercultural communication.29Although students of Deutsch continued his approach into the 1970s and beyond, the utility ofa purely quantitative analysis of communication flows is limited.’6As in the field of communications proper, the overwhelming majority of studies oninternational relations and communications focus on some aspect of message content. In thesestudies, the specific message being transmitted is thought to be the important variable; changesin the medium through which the message is imparted are abstracted from the analysis. Thosethat do not deal exclusively with content focus instead on communications flows, as exemplifiedin the work of Karl Deutsch. In both of these cases, the medium itself is viewed as neutral andinvisible. Changes in the technology of communication are also ignored.Medium theoryMedium theory flips this abstraction, so to speak, focusing exclusively on the intrinsicproperties of the medium itself, largely without regard to the volume of communications flowsor to the content of the messages being delivered.’7 Most important from this perspective isthe way in which large-scale changes in modes of communication shape and constrain behaviourand thought independent of message content, and in doing so help to restructure social andpolitical institutions. According to this perspective, media are not simply neutral channels forconveying information between two or more environments, but are rather environments in andof themselves.’8 To put it simply, medium theory holds that communication “is a spherewhere the technology involved may have an immense significance for the society in which it30occurs, and perhaps radically affect the concurrent forms of social and economicorganization.”’9Unlike content-based analyses of communications, medium theory is necessarilyhistorical in its approach, contrasting different media environments across time, and tracingchanges in the technology of communication for their effects on the evolution of social andpolitical order.2°Although medium theory is primarily associated with twentieth century scholarship, manyof its core propositions can be unearthed in classic texts dating back to ancient Greece. In thePhaedrus and the Seventh Letter, Plato has Socrates raise strong objections to the newly emergingwritten form, arguing that it destroys memory and weakens the mind, even though, ironically,Plato’s own analytic epistemology was strongly conditioned by the effects of writing on mentalprocesses, as Eric Havelock, Walter Ong, and Ernst Gellner have argued.2’ Moral injunctionsagainst the expression of ideas in specific media can be found in the Old Testament, where inthe Second Commandment of the Decalogue the Israelites are prohibited from depicting God iniconographic form.22 In the Essay on the Origin of Languages, Rousseau takes up a commontheme in medium theory -- the transition from primitive orality to writing -- arguing that writingtransforms the meaning of words and diminishes their vitality by suppressing dialects: “Themore a people learn to read, the more are its dialects obliterated.”23 What each of theseperspectives shares is the central proposition of medium theory: that the medium ofcommunication -- far from being an empty vessel or transparent channel -- has a significantinfluence on the nature and content of human communication.31Probably the most famous (or infamous, depending on specific viewpoints) practitionerof medium theory is Marshall McLuhan, as one of his well-known aphorisms, “the medium isthe message” attests. In a series of highly publicized books written during the 1960s, McLuhanbrought attention to the central principles of medium theory, mostly through his idiosyncraticstyle of writing, which was peppered with one-line aphorisms and gross generalizations thatbecame catch-phrases of the decade.24 As Lapham notes, “Seldom in living memory had soobscure a scholar descended so abruptly from so remote a garret into the centre ring of celebritycircus.”25 Indeed, few scholars can rival McLuhan for achieving such popular notoriety-- arise McLuhan himself seemed to relish as proof of his own proclamations. Appearing in WoodyAllen films and popular television shows, and professing to speak in the disconnected, pastichemode of the “electronic age,” McLuhan saw his role in therapeutic terms: he was to be theoracle of a new world on the verge of being born. Not surprisingly, the self-imposedtransformation from bookish literary professor to postmodern electronic guru alienated many stillensconced in the tombs of typographica. In an ironic twist of his theorizing, McLuhan’smeteoric rise may have had the unfortunate consequence of obscuring the message beneath themessenger.Clothed in the “mosaic” form of argumentation McLuhan preferred (“mosaic” in contrastto the linear-style of reasoning which McLuhan believed to be a product of the Age ofTypography), McLuhan’s message took as its starting point some of the more basic themes ofmedium theory, reweaving them into electronic age prophecy. Like other medium theorists,McLuhan believed that changes in modes of communication have important consequences for32human society -- that there are deep, qualitative differences between one communication modeand another, differences that are in turn reflected in the nature of the communications epoch.For McLuhan, history can be divided into four such communications epochs, each of whichcorresponds to the dominant mode of communication of the time: oral, writing, printing, andelectronic. McLuhan’ s unique contribution was the argument that in each of thesecommunication epochs, different media act as extensions of the human senses with consequencesfor both cognition and social order. For example, “oral societies” live primarily in an “earculture,” while writing, and to a greater extent print, makes the sense of sight dominant.Following McLuhan’s sensory classification, the electronic revolution returns us to the world ofprimitive orality, to village-like encounters, but now on a global scale: hence, “the globalvillage.”26One of the more popular, but confusing aspects of McLuhan’s analysis is his binarydistinction between “hot” and “cool” media.27 “Hot” media extend a single sense in highdefinition; “cool” media are low in definition, requiring audience participation. For MeLuhan,examples of the former include print, radio, and film, while examples of the latter would includecolloquial speech, telephone and television.28 Though clearly the distinction is debatable (bymost accounts, print is a more active medium than television in terms of audience participation)like many of McLuhan’s “probes” it had the unfortunate consequence of directing debate aboutmedium theory away from its core propositions to McLuhan’ s more spectacular but incidentalcontributions. “McLuhanesque” slogans -- such as “the electric light is pure information” or“electric circuitry is Orientalizing the West” -- became so associated with medium theory that33by the time of McLuhan’s death in 1980 few outside of the communications field were aware ofthe approach.29Although he was clearly the most famous, McLuhan was merely one among a numberof other scholars working along medium theory lines in the 1950s and 1960s. The interactionamong these theorists was strong, with many of them meeting regularly at the University ofToronto-- an informal group that is now referred to as the “Toronto School ofCommunications.”3° Generally considered the founder of this “school” was the Canadianeconomic historian Harold Adam Innis.3’ Innis had established himself as an expert on tradein Canadian staple resources before turning to the history of communications.32 McLuhan’ sanalysis was significantly influenced by Innis’ approach -- so much so, in fact, that McLuhanhad once described his own work as merely a “footnote” to Innis’ scholarship. Although bothshared a notoriously dense and complex writing style, Innis’ work was more conventional inacademic terms. Furthermore, Innis and McLuhan operated at different levels of analysis.33While McLuhan directed most of his concerns to the effect of media on sensory organization andthought, Innis concentrated primarily on large-scale social organization and culture, or, to citeone of Innis’ more famous titles, on Empire and Communications.34 Heyer outlines the centralthemes in Innis’ medium theory:History is perceived as a series of epochs separated by discontinuity. Each isdistinguished by dominant forms of media that absorb, record, and transforminformation into systems of knowledge consonant with the institutional powerstructure appropriate to the society in question. The interaction between mediaform and social reality creates various biases, which strongly affect the society’scultural orientation and values.3534Two prominent aspects of Innis’ work are his views on space/time biases of differentmodes of communication, and on monopolies of knowledge. Innis argued that different mediaoften exhibit an inherent bias towards either time or space, and that these biases are reflected inthe character of civilizations. Durable media that are difficult to transport -- such as stone, clay,or parchment -- have a time-bias; these societies tend to be tradition-oriented, giving emphasisto custom and continuity over change with a strong attachment to the sacred. Furthermore, time-biased civilizations often lead to hierarchical social orders with elite groups, such as Egyptianhigh priests or the medieval Catholic clergy. Space-biased media, such as papyrus or paper, arelighter and more portable and tend to complement expansionist empires characterized by largeadministrative apparatuses and secular institutions. Using a form of dialectical analysis, Innisargued that both types of civilizations have a tendency over time to ossify into rigid andunresponsive regimes. A reaction occurs at the fringes of society with marginalized groupstaking advantage of new technologies of communication which in turn results in the ascendencyof a new order.Possibly influenced by their introduction to Innis through McLuhan, some of Innis’ criticshave tended to latch onto these two components of his thought as evidence of a supposed crudereductionism at work. However, a careful reading of Innis’ analysis reveals that he did notintend to make determinist pronouncements about the effects of media on society. His work ismore subtle, intended to highlight the way in which different media have potentialities for controlaccording to the way they are employed in different socio-economic contexts. For Innis, theemphasis is on the interaction between this context and medium form, rather than on the mode35communication in abstraction: “A medium of communication has an important influence on thedissemination of knowledge over space and over time and it becomes necessary to study itscharacteristics in order to appraise its influence in its cultural setting.”36 Unlike McLuhan’ smore programmatic statements on “hot” and “cool” media, Innis’ time/space biases are perhapsbest approached as shorthand designates for the constraints imposed on certain types ofcommunications by particular media. Above all, Innis was concerned with understandingcivilizational transformation through the lens of changing media technology -- an hitherto novelfocus that required significant conceptual innovation to alert readers to the way in whichcommunications media are not mere empty vessels.As noted in the introduction to this study, medium theory did not generate a widespreadacademic following initially, possibly as a result of its introduction by Innis and McLuhan.Innis’ relatively early death foreclosed the possibility of his completing the more comprehensiveproject suggested by his two preliminary works, Empire and Communications and The Bias ofCommunications. As a consequence, he is known mostly through second-hand interpretations.In the case of McLuhan, the idiosyncratic style with which he chose to convey the centralpropositions of medium theory probably did more to obscure its theoretical basis. Quiteintentionally, McLuhan chose to ignore the social science conventions of the day and suffereda predictably dismissive response from academia. However, his “mosaic” style of writing maybe more resonant with contemporary postmodern audiences as evidenced by the McLuhanesquerenaissance that appears to be gaining momentum.3736Nonetheless, medium theory has proved to be a useful tool for a wide variety of scholarsworking in different issue-areas, many of whom offer a more conventional academic style ofanalysis than either of the two. A contemporary of Innis and McLuhan and a member of theinformal “Toronto School,” classicist Eric Havelock has studied the transition to alphabeticliteracy in ancient Greece, analyzing its impact on classical epistemology.38 In a similar vein,social anthropologists Jack Goody and Ian Watt have studied the transition from primitive oralityto writing for its impact on both consciousness and social organization, as has Walter Ong froma more general perspective.39 Historian Elizabeth Eisenstein has undertaken an extensivelydocumented analysis of the cultural and scientific changes associated with the shift from scriptto print in medieval Europe.4° And though less often associated with the formal approach,many of the central propositions of medium theory can be found in the work of culturalanthropologists, like Lewis Mumford and Ernst Geliner, who have studied the role oftechnological innovation in social evolution.41 While most of these theorists touch on large-scale historical changes associated with innovations in communications media, none have focusedexclusively on the issue with which I am concerned here: world order transformation. The nextsection provides an overview of the modifications and elaborations that I make to medium theoryin order to accommodate it to this problematique.Theory and epistemologyAs alluded to above, no theory is without its warts, and medium theory is certainly notexempt. In order to accommodate this particular approach to my own set of questions, some re37tooling will be necessary if only to overcome some of the more confusing aspects of McLuhanand Innis’ notoriously difficult styles. The elaborations and revisions to medium theory thatfollow can be grouped into two categories, both of them having to do with the question ofcausality. The first is with respect to the relative emphasis placed on communications technologyas an independent variable; the second has to do with clearly articulating the exact nature of theeffects that arise from a change in the mode of communication. I will consider each of these inturn.a. Towards a non-reductionist medium theoiyA recurring criticism of medium theory is that it tends toward a form of mono-causalreductionism and technological determinism. Certainly McLuhan bears the brunt of thiscriticism, though other medium theorists are not immune. Not unusual would be Carey’s harshindictment of McLuhan for a thorough “technological determinism” that closed down newapproaches to communications technology, and left us with only “a soggy conclusion rather thanwith detailed scholarship.”42 Book reviews of medium theorists are particularly repetitious,so much so that one gets the impression that reprimanding medium theory on this score is aformulaic device. Thus Havelock’ s work on the Greek enlightenment is castigated for“clinging.. .to a simplistic reductionism” that “seems to want to make alphabetic literacy the solecause of the change...”43 In Eisenstein, one reviewer detects “a certain reductionist streak” and“a tendency to overestimate printing as against other forces of change. “a38Indeed, a cursory glance at McLuhan’s work in particular might offer substantiation forthese criticisms, especially given his penchant for poetic hyperbole -- a style of writing that doesnot lend itself well to caveat. Superficial illustrations of technological determinism are not hardto find in books conceived as aphoristic “probes” rather than scientific treatises. In fact,McLuhan’s work is constituted by them. In describing his project, McLuhan once admitted that“I don’t explain -- I explore”-- a revealing quote that begs the question of the grounds on whichsuch analysis should be held accountable.45 While a strong argument could be made that acharge of technological determinism is probably beside the point of much of McLuhan’ s work,the charge itself should be taken seriously in any analysis, such as this one, that attemptssomething more formal, more conventional than bullet-like, aphoristic probes.Figure 1 (Appendix A) offers a picture of the technological determinist/mono-causalreductionist model of change. Though no one particular medium theorist can be said to subscribefully to such a simplistic model of change, some employ language or semantic inflections thatare at times consistent with such a picture of the interplay between technology and society.Eisenstein’s use of the word “agent” to describe an inanimate technology -- the printing press --is a case in point.46 Moreover, this base/superstructure model is a familiar one across a varietyof theoretical perspectives (orthodox Marxism being the prime example) where single overarching“master” variables are held as determinant.47 When critics of medium theorists reprimand themfor technological determinism they are implicitly invoking this flawed picture of causality. Anyattempt at revising medium theory necessitates confronting the many interrelated pitfalls inherentin such a simplistic model of change.39The most serious flaw in this model is that it tends to view the introduction of a newtechnology of communication as an autonomous force with certain definite and predictable resultsirrespective of the social and historical context in which it is introduced. By attributinggenerative causal powers to this independent variable, the technological determinist model tendsto slight the extent to which the technology itself emerges out of a particular context and is itselfinfluenced by social, cultural, and historical forces. This relative neglect of contextual factorsis especially erroneous because not only does it tend to privilege the technology over otherfactors, but it produces faulty projections for the introduction of a similar technology in differentcultures and contexts. Furthermore, the picture of causality employed sets up a strong binaryopposition between the “material” and the “ideal,” with social forces and ideas placed in asubordinate, derivative position to the material instrument of technology. Additionally, becausesocial consequences are seen as arising out of the technology itself, the technological deterministmodel portrays historical change as a radical disjuncture, with the technology as the hinge -- aview of epochal change now widely discredited among historians.48To avoid these pitfalls, we must underscore the “social embeddedness” of technology.We must give greater emphasis to the historical and social context in which technologies areintroduced and have their effect, an insight most forcefully made by social constructivists oftechnology.49 These theorists trace the way social needs develop towards which certaininnovations are applied. The most comprehensive of them show how social forces in conjunctionwith available material resources and technical knowledge mould the construction and inventionof new technologies. In doing so, they dispel the illusion maintained by the technological40determinist that technologies enter society de novo and generate specific social forces and/orideas.But despite its strengths as a corrective to the technological determinist model, the socialconstructivist position has a tendency to fall into the opposite trap and slight, if not ignorealtogether, any independent effects attributable to the technology itself once introduced. It isimportant to remember that although social forces may give direction to technological innovation,they are not completely determinant; once introduced a technology will likely have manyunforseen effects, and it is these effects in which the medium theorist is most interested. Thetechnological determinist model portrays them as emerging out of the technology itself, with themeans of communication “generating” specific effects, as in: “the printing press createdindividuality” or “the Reformation is the child of the printing press.” The problem with thesetypes of claim is that they tend to mask the complex interplay between social context andcommunications technology, and return us to the reductionist fallacies described above. Howdo we avoid this seemingly endless dialectic between the technological determinist and the socialconstructivist? A more apt characterization of this interplay might be gained by reflecting on andamplifying one of the more prominent metaphors in medium theory analysis: media asenvironments.50In classical Darwinian theories of evolution, environmental changes strongly conditionthe differential survival and reproduction of species.5’ Although species are vitally dependenton their environment, the environment itself can not be said to engage in the selection process41by acting on species; rather, innovations and genetic mutations produce a variety of physicalcharacteristics which, in turn, are selected blindly according to their “fitness” or match with theenvironment. Not to be confused with 19th century “Social Darwinist” views of progressivedevelopment,52evolution from this perspective assumes no inherent direction or purpose but isa contingent, open-ended historical process. Similarly, a change in media technology(environment) will facilitate and constrain ideas and social forces (species) already latent insociety. Modes of communication help determine which prosper by means of a functional biastowards some and not others, just as environments determine which species prosper by selectingfor certain physical characteristics. It is important to emphasize that this “functional bias” isreally the product of a chance “fitness” between the interests of particular social forces on theone hand and the nature of the communications environment on the other -- an interaction thatvaries with the social and historical context in which the technology is developed. Thus changesin communications environments blindly “favour” some social forces and ideas latent in societyover others in the same way that changes in natural environments “favour” certain species overothers-- a process that is both contingent and open-ended. Unintended consequences loom largein this picture. We would anticipate, in other words, that social forces and ideas that aremarginalized in one communications environment may resonate strongly once that environmentchanges. Likewise, those social forces that initially gave support to, and drove the earlydevelopment of a new technology of communication may find themselves disadvantaged once thefull characteristics of the new communications environment take root.This Darwinist evolutionary analogy is particularly useful because it moves away from42the technological determinist view of technologies “generating” specific social forces and ideas.It affirms that the genesis of social forces and ideas ultimately reflects a multiplicity of factorsthat cannot be reduced to a single overarching “master” variable. Instead, it argues that socialforces and ideas already latent in society will flourish or wither depending on their “fitness” ormatch with the new communications environment. From this perspective, a new mode ofcommunication is not an “agent” but rather a passive, structural feature of the technologicallandscape in which human beings interact. It imposes certain constraints or limitations on thenature and type of possible human communications, while facilitating other types, but it does notimpose thought or behaviour in any crude one-to-one fashion. It is an environment. And likenatural environments, when it changes some species will be favoured while others will bedisadvantaged, because of an active intervention on the part of the environment itself, butrather because the functional properties of the environment either facilitate or constrain thecharacteristics and interests of the species within it. There are two quite distinct ways in whichthese reinforcements and constraints operate, which brings me to my second modification tomedium theory.b. Two effects: distributional changes and changes to social epistemologyWhen a new technology of communication is introduced into society, its effects operatein two quite distinct ways related to the nature of communication technology itself. Considerthe following quote by Goody:43Systems of communication are clearly related to what man can make of his worldboth internally in terms of thought and externally in terms of his social andcultural organization. So changes in the means of communication are linked indirect as well as indirect ways to changes in the patterns of human interaction.53What Goody is alluding to is the dual-nature of any communications technology. On theone hand, the introduction of a certain medium has specific tangible, distributional effects on thesocial and political infrastructure. In Innis’ formulation, “Inventions in communication compelrealignments in the monopoly or the oligopoly of knowledge.”54 This effect depends on twoassumptions alluded to above: first is the most basic proposition of medium theory, that specificcommunications environments have a certain “logic” or “nature” not in any determinist sense,but only in the sense of “making human communications of certain types easier or moredifficult.”55 The second assumption is that society is made up of discernable social forces that,while not necessarily “rational” in the homo economicus, utility-maximizing sense of the term,are nonetheless motivated by certain historically and culturally varied interests and goals. Themethodological task becomes clear when the two assumptions are married: identifying thosesocial forces whose interests are likely to “fit” with the new media environment, and those whoseinterests do not. Because social forces acquire a certain “path-dependency” or institutional inertiabased on the shared habits of thought and action of the multitudes of individuals that comprisethem, they cannot easily adapt to new circumstances. Their institutional incumbency, as Gouldcalls it, “reinforces the stability of the pathway once the little quirks of early flexibility push asequence into a firm channel.”56 For example, every person in the industrialized world couldconceivably wake up tomorrow and stop driving their cars and use bicycles instead, “but whowill bell the cat or start the ball rolling?”57 Social forces are just not easily re-oriented or44quickly transformed from their core interests that define them. Thus social forces that may havethrived in one communications environment may be at a significant disadvantage once thatenvironment changes. And conversely, social forces that were marginalized or subordinatewithin one communications environment may suddenly find a “niche” and thrive once thatenvironment changes. It is in this sense, then, that changes in modes of communication havedistributional consequences.On the other hand, communication technologies also communicate ideas and information;the specific manner by which each medium imparts information has an influence on the natureof individual and social cognition. To take but one specific example often cited by mediumtheorists, the introduction of writing encourages abstract thought because words and ideas canbe manipulated and compared to a greater extent than in oral societies.58 Here we areconcerned with the way communications technology influences what Ruggie labels atransformation in social epistemology.59 Social epistemology broadly refers to the web-of-beliefs into which a people are acculturated and through which they perceive the world aroundthem.6° It encompasses an interwoven set of historically-contingent characteristics ranging fromindividual cognition to spatial or temporal biases to “imagined communities” that are unique toa specific historical context, and differentiate one epoch from another.61 Among French socialtheorists and medievalists it is referred to as mentalites collectives -- the shared mentalpredispositions of a population in time -- and it plays a crucial role in their interpretation ofcultures.6245In highlighting changes to social epistemology, medium theory has a close affinity tosociology of knowledge or social constructivist approaches.63 At its most basic, what theseperspectives share is the belief that a wide range of social, economic, and political factors shapethe genesis and structure of human thought and behaviour, and thus the contours of socialepistemology. Medium theory adds a materialist dimension to these perspectives by focusing onchanges in communications technology. A common example of an argument linkingtechnological innovation and social cognition in this way is Lewis Mumford’ s treatment of theimpact of the clock on Western society in Technics and Civilization.M Prior to the clock, themeasure of time was determined organically, that is, by the sun and the seasons; beginning inthe 14th century, the measure of time was re-oriented by the clock with important socialramifications. The clock “dissociated time from human events and helped create the belief inan independent world of mathematically measurable sequences. “65 As Mumford goes on toexplain:When one thinks of the day as an abstract space of time, one does not go to bedwith the chickens on a winter’s night: one invents wicks, chimneys, lamps,gaslights, electric lamps, so as to use all the hours belonging to the day. Whenone thinks of time, not as a sequence of experiences, but as a collection of hours,minutes, and seconds, the habits of adding time and saving time come intoexistence. Time took on the character of an enclosed space: it could be divided,it could be filled up, it could even be expanded by the invention of labour-savinginstruments... .Abstract time became the new medium of existence.Mumford’s social construction of time nicely illustrates the type of interpretive approachthat should be employed when attention turns to the effects of the mode of communication onsocial epistemology. Effectively exploring the link between communications technology and46social epistemology moves us considerably into the realm of semiotics and the study of symbolicforms. This move necessitates a much richer type of interpretive analysis than themethodological strictures of more positivist-oriented theorizing allows: thick, as opposed to thin,description in Clifford Geertz’ s formulation.67 We must be able to tap into and unearth theconstitutive social norms of a period, the unconscious boundaries and biases that frameexperience, the symbolic forms that give meaning to behaviour for a people.68 These socialnorms and symbolic forms are crucial because they provide what might be called “themetaphysical underpinnings” of the constitutive features of world order. If only by unconsciousbiases and orientations common to a people, “social epistemology” is implicated in thearchitecture of world order. Medium theory, as used here, does not argue that the mode ofcommunication generates these symbolic forms and cognitive biases; rather, it argues thatchanges in the mode of communication will facilitate and constrain symbolic forms and biasesalready latent in society thus giving rise to a new social epistemology -- re-threading the websof significance, in other words.It is important to emphasize that the “fitness” between elements of social epistemologyand the communications environment is largely an inter-generational process, rather than intrapsychic. In other words, it does not mean that each individual person will suddenly abandonlong-held metaphysical presuppositions and cognitive biases as a result of their exposure to a newcommunications environment. New technologies of communication do not carry within themmysterious magical properties that overpower those with whom they come in contact. Nor dothey come equipped with their own special social epistemology. Rather, it means that a47communications environment will be set up where a particular social epistemology latent insociety will have a better chance of finding a “niche” and thus surviving and flourishing overtime. In other words, an increasing portion of those acculturated into the new communicationsenvironment will come to see a particular social epistemology current in society as more“natural” and “reasonable,” and it is through this inter-generational “selection” process that a newsocial epistemology will flourish.In sum, changes in modes of communication have an important effect on the nature andcharacter of society and politics. These effects vary in terms of the social and historical contextin which the technology is developed. New technologies of communication do not generatespecific social forces and/or ideas, as technological determinists would have it. Rather, theyfacilitate and constrain social forces and ideas already latent in society. The hypothesized processcan be likened to the interaction between species and a changing natural environment. Newmedia environments favour certain social forces and ideas by means of a functional bias towardssome and not others, just as environments determine which species prosper by “selecting” forcertain physical characteristics. In other words, social forces and ideas survive differentiallyaccording to their “fitness” or match with the new media environment -- a process that is bothopen-ended and contingent.There are two conceptually-distinct ways in which these effects operate: distributionalchanges and changes to social epistemology. These two conceptually-distinct effects will in turnprovide the basis for the analytical scheme to be employed in the chapters to follow. The study48is divided into two parts, both of which are comprised of three chapters:* the first chapter in each part provides an historical and descriptiveoverview of the development of a new communications environment --printing in part one and hypermedia in part two (chapters two and five);* the second chapter examines the distributional changes that result from thechange in the mode of communication (chapters three and six);* the third chapter examines the changes to social epistemology that resultfrom the change in the mode of communication (chapters four and seven).Ecological holism and medium theoryHaving made these substantial modifications and elaborations to medium theory, I amnow in a better position to articulate more clearly the meta-theoretical assumptions on which thisstudy rests. The non-reductive, evolutionary medium theory approach outlined above must, bynecessity, encompass a much wider perspective on the dynamics of human/technologicalinteraction than the simple mono-causal picture portrayed in figure 1. Figure 2 (Appendix A)depicts what I call an “ecological holist” picture of human existence. This figure essentiallyunearths and clearly articulates the evolutionary underpinning that is at least implicit in thewritings of Innis, and perhaps most explicit in the work of those medium theorists with a socialanthropological background like Goody, Mumford, and Gellner. It is significantly influencedby the work of the French Annales school of historians, represented by Braudel, Duby, and LeGoff. Each ring in the figure refers to a conceptually-distinct component of human existence,none of which is reducible to the others. The lines separating each component are not rigid, butblend into one another at the margins.49At the centre are the basic inherited neurophysiological adaptations and traits shared bythe species as a whole. These traits are very general and non-determining, and can be consideredtrivial in a sociological sense. An example might include what Noam Chomsky calls the “humanlanguage faculty” -- the innate predisposition to learn a language within a constrained set, ordeep linguistic structure.69 Not to be confused with crude classical realist speculations on afixed and determining “human nature,” nor with the neo-classical “rational” actorassumptions,7°these dispositions are confined to certain morphological or neurological propertiesshared by the species as a whole. The mere fact that they are so general as to be able toaccommodate the vast diversity of cultures that have existed throughout history means that theywill have no bearing on our analysis.7’The first ring refers to the web of beliefs, or what I referred to earlier as “socialepistemology.” To reiterate, it includes a historically-contingent web of intersubjective values,beliefs, cognitive biases, and symbolic and linguistic forms into which a people are acculturated.This web of beliefs is not species-wide, but variable from culture to culture or epoch to epoch.It forms the broad epistemic lens through which a people interpret and act on the world aroundthem. The web of beliefs blends into the next ring, which is composed of formal and informalinstitutions, ranging from states and corporations and organizations on the formal side to habitsof actions and general modes of organizing human interaction and subsistence on the informalside.72 Situated between the material environment and institutions is technology. In its narrowsense, technology refers to applied knowledge, but here the term is used in its more commonsense to encompass both practical or applied knowledge (formally, technology) as well as the50material instruments or artefacts of technology (formally, technics), such as the printing press.73As a material artefact, technology is constrained by the available resources of a time and place;but as a tool it is always conditioned by and emerges out of existing social institutions,knowledge, and skills -- what we earlier referred to as the “social embeddedness” of technology.In ontological terms, technology should not be seen as merely an appendage to human society,but a deeply intertwined constitutive feature of human society. In Mazlish’s words:The evidence now seems strong that humans evolved from the other animalsthrough a continuous interaction of tool, physical, and mental-emotional changes.The old view -- that humans arrived on the evolutionary scene fully formed andthen proceeded to discover tools and the new ways of life that they made possible-- no longer appears acceptable.74The last ring refers to the material or geophysical environment, including demographics,disease, climate, and natural resources, all of which have a loose constraining effect on the broadtrajectory and character of social evolution.75 For millennia theorists have speculated on theway in which these broad material factors impact on the nature of human societies, and there isa strong tradition of “natural” theorizing reaching back to the ancient Greeks.76 For the time-frame of most analyses, however, these basic material factors can be assumed away as relativelyinsignificant. But in studies that focus on the longue duree, they take on more importance.77Although the figure may give the appearance of stasis, it is important to emphasize thatecological holism is fundamentally historicist in outlook, meaning that human existence is seenas a continuously evolving interplay between environmental and technological conditions, formaland informal institutions and practices, and intersubjective values and beliefs. From this51perspective, “rationalities,” identities, nations, and states -- though potentially stable in their basiccontours over relatively long periods of time -- are nonetheless products of historicalcontingencies and thus subject to change as nature and society evolves.78It is also important to be clear that change from this perspective is not the unfolding ofpredetermined patterns, or teleological processes, but rather “the grand aggregation andmultiplication of the actions of individuals and groups in concrete historical circumstances asthese individuals are responding to a multiplicity of biological, psychological and socialneeds.”79 Thus chance or contingency play an important part in the nature and direction ofsocial evolution. From an ecological holist perspective, conceptual, technological, economic orother changes in human patterns of interaction can alter the human developmental path inunexpected ways that defy more linear notions of change. In this respect, ecological holism runscontrary to those theories that argue for the existence of recurring “long-cycles” or progressive“stages of development” through which all societies are assumed to pass.8° It is informed bya “Darwinist” view of history -- that is, one that sees no unfolding logic to history, but only“descent with modification.”8’Of course, fundamental change in the basic structures of human society is not continuousbut episodic given the relative stability and endurance of human institutions, ideas and habits.In Gaddis’ words, “conditions can persist for years with so little alteration that people come toaccept them as permanent.”82 The broad contours of history thus take on characteristics similarto what Stephen Jay Gould referred to as “punctuated equilibrium” -- that is, long durations of52stability punctuated by abrupt “epochal” changes.83 Some social theorists, wedded to thetechnological determinist/mono-causal reductionist model, want to reduce all such fundamentalchange to a single overarching “master” variable, such as the mode of production or technologiesof destruction. But according to the ecological holist perspective advanced here, the specificsource of fundamental change at any one time in human history cannot be stated on a priorigrounds, and typically reflects a multiplicity of factors -- both material and ideal -- that happento converge in the form of a sudden change in human patterns of interaction.84Medium theory can be seen as a subsidiary approach embedded in an ecological holistperspective, isolating those changes that are encouraged and facilitated by a change in the modeof communication. This focus should not be taken as an assertion of the fundamental primacyof communications over other spheres of human existence, but merely a heuristic division ofscholarly labour. Technological changes in communications media are one among many otherimportant innovations that produce novelty in social interaction. Yet because communication --like production and security -- is so vital to human existence, these changes will likely have farreaching implications.Ecological holism, medium theory, and International Relations theoryIt should be clear from the overview that the tenor of medium theory is clearly alignedwith the “historical sociology” side of the International Relations field, as opposed to the moreahistorical approaches Robert Keohane identifies as “rationalist.”85 Robert Cox points out that53rationalist approaches, which he calls “problem-solving,” are suitable to “periods of apparentstability or fixity in power relations.”86 Surprisingly, these approaches represent the majorityof the field today, despite the fact that we appear to be in an era of fundamental transformation.As Geliner remarks: “The great paradox of our age is that although it is undergoing social andintellectual change of totally unprecedented speed and depth, its thought has become, in themain, unhistorical or ahistorical.”87The two dominant approaches in the field today -- neo-realism and neo-liberalism -- areahistorical not because they are unable to amass “historical” details in support of their claims,but rather because they seek essentially to escape history by grounding their theories infundamental presuppositions -- be it the anarchic structure or the desire to maximize utilities --which are posited as universal (i.e., timeless, contextless) foundations.88 In Adler’sterminology, they are both examples of what he calls theories of “being” -- “a prevalent notionthat sees everything in nature and society as static and mechanistic, including change.”89 Forneo-realists especially, the main components of the international system are treated as if“suspended in space” -- “time has little to do with them, and movement and change arelinear. “90 Even those cyclical theorists like Robert Gilpin who appear to give a more dynamictreatment to the international system by allowing for differential growth still present change asmerely the rearrangement of rationally-motivated “units” under the universal constant of aconstraining anarchic order.9’ Likewise, neo-liberalism offers what Wendt calls a “behavioralconception of both process and institutions: they change behavior but not identities andinterests.”92 For all their apparent differences over the question of relative versus absolute54gains, neo-liberals and neo-realists are alike in assuming the natural order of world politics tobe one of unitary rational actors in an anarchic setting.93The alternative to theories of being, according to Adler, are theories of “becoming” --those that see human existence “as a permanent process of change and evolution, even that whichappears to be static” -- a category that obviously includes ecological holism.94 There are fewexamples of the type of full-blown historicism characteristic of theories of “becoming” in theInternational Relations field, although that is changing. Increasingly, a number of scholars seetheir work as falling outside of either the neo-realist or neo-liberal camps, and what might betermed an “historicist” school of International Relations theorists can be identified in the field.95The common denominator of this school is a shared view of human institutions and practices(including states, nations, identities, and interests) as products of historical contingencies and thussubject to change over time. Historicists see politics not as a cyclical, recurring phenomenon(as neo-realists clearly do) but rather as an open-ended process.Historicists can be differentiated in terms of the relative weight they place on the“material” versus the “ideal” as explanatory variables -- a distinction that harkens back to Marxand Hegel respectively. For example, Robert Cox’ s “historical structures” approach, whichexplicitly articulates an open-ended evolutionary theory that takes into account materialenvironments, institutions, and intersubjective values and beliefs, ultimately falls toward the“material” end of the spectrum because of the overriding importance attached to the mode ofproduction as a determinant variable.96 Likewise, Daniel Deudney’s ongoing reconstruction of55materialist geopolitical theories -- which explores the relationship between changing technologiesof destruction and world order formation -- also falls toward the “material” end because of theweight given to military technologiesY Towards the “ideas” end of the spectrum fall the socialconstructivist theories of Wendt, Kratochwil, and others, which focus on the historicalmalleability of interests, identities, and institutions.98 These approaches tend to concentratepurely on the interaction between social epistemology and institutions to the exclusion ofenvironmental or technological factors. They lack the “grounding” of the more materially-encompassing theories outlined above, and tend to downplay or ignore material factors ascausally-significant variables in politics.As shown in Figure 2, ecological holism can be seen as an attempt to overcome thisbinary opposition between “material” factors and “ideas”, which are seen not in either/or terms,but as part of a single whole. Ecological holism takes as its starting point the basic materialistposition that human beings, like all other organisms, are vitally dependent on, and thusinfluenced by, the environment around them. However, it recognizes that because human beingshave the unique ability to communicate complex symbols and ideas, they do not approach theirenvironment on the basis of pure instinct (as other organisms do) nor as a linguistically-naked“given,” but rather through a complex web of beliefs, symbolic forms and social constructs intowhich they are acculturated and through which they perceive the world around them. As Lukedescribes:The ways in which people apprehend their environment is (pre)formulated by thestatements about ideas, “reality,” objects, facts, relations, and so forth thatorganize aparticularfield of reference. The human subject in any given historical56era apprehends her or his world, the self, and the relations between self andothers on the basis of historical discursive practices that name, locate andorganize concrete and abstract knowledge and experience.99There are few examples of ecological holism in the field today, though Ruggie’s workon historical transformation is a clear exception. In “Territoriality and beyond,” Ruggie statesthe ecological holist position that “material environments, strategic behavior, and socialepistemology” are “irreducible to one another.”10° Other examples that are perhaps lessexplicitly illustrative include the work of Ernst Haas and Emanuel Adler, who share the view that“politics is a historical process that changes with physical changes and the evolution ofmeanings.”101 In their empirical work, both Haas and Adler have focused on a more narrowtime-frame in which “physical changes” can be treated as a “given” for the purposes of analysis.Thus Adler’s work on “epistemic communities” bears a strong resemblance to the socialconstructivism of Wendt and Kratochwil -- the major difference being the latter are not explicitabout the extent to which material, geophysical factors are part of their ontology.’02 Of course,the differences between ecological holism and social constructivism are minimal compared totheir similarities, especially in contrast to mainstream rationalist approaches, which treat interestsand identities as relatively fixed. However, ecological holism provides a more comprehensivepicture of human existence, one that is vital for an examination of the type of large-scalehistorical changes undertaken here.57Notes1.1 use the word “artificial” quite literally here, meaning produced by human art and effort, toemphasize the fact that disciplinary boundaries are, after all, heuristic conventions and notreflections of any “natural” divisions in the world itself. In Cox’s words, “academic conventionsdivide up the seamless web of the real social world in separate spheres, each with its owntheorizing; this is a necessary and practical way of gaining understanding.” However, as Coxcontinues, “It is wise to bear in mind that such a conventional cutting up of reality is at best justa convenience of the mind.” Cox, “Social Forces, States and World Orders,” p. 204.2.see, for examples, Thomas C. Sorenson, The Word War: The Story of American Propaganda.(New York: Harper and Row, 1968); Z.A.B. Zeman, Nazi Propaganda, [2nd ed.] (New York:Oxford University Press, 1973); J.A. Emerson Vermaat, “Moscow Fronts and the EuropeanPeace Movements,” Problems of Communism. (Nov-Dec 1982), pp.43-56; Harold Lasswell,Daniel Lerner, and Hans Speier, (eds.) Propaganda and Communication in World History.(Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1980); John Martin, International Propaganda: Its Legaland Diplomatic Control. (Gloucester: P.Smith, 1969); W. Phillips Davison, “PoliticalCommunications as an Instrument of Foreign Policy,” Public Opinion Ouarterly 27 (1963),pp.28-36.3.William Dorman and Mansour Farhang, The US Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and theJournalism of Deference. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987); Alan Rachlin, Newsas Hegemonic Reality: American Political Culture and the Framing of News Accounts. (NewYork: Praeger, 1988); Robert M. Entman, “Framing US Coverage of International News:Contrasts in Narratives of the KAL and Iran Air Incident,” Journal of Communication 41(Autumn 1991), pp.6-27. For “frame analysis,” see Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis: An Essayon the Organization of Experience. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974).4.Michael Arlen, Living Room War, (New York: Viking Press, 1969).5.Karl Deutsch, “Mass Communication and the Loss of Freedom in National Decision-Making:A Possible Research Approach to Interstate Conflict,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 1 (1957),pp.200-2 ii; John W. Burton, Conflict and Communication: the use of controlled communicationin international relations. (London: Macmillan Press, 1969); Robert Jervis, Perception andMisperception in International Politics. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976); JacobBerkovitch, “Third Parties in Conflict Management: The Structure and Conditions of EffectiveMediation in International Relations,” International Journal 40 (Autumn 1985), pp.736-52.6.J.M. Mitchell, International Cultural Relations. (London: Allen and Unwin, 1986).7.Oran Young, The Intermediaries: third parties in international conflict. (Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1967); Charles Lockhart, Bargaining in International Conflicts. (New York:Columbia University Press, 1979); Raymond Cohen, Negotiating Across Cultures:58communication obstacles in international diplomacy. (Washington: United States Institute ofPeace, 1991).8.John R. Wood and Jean Seers, Diplomatic Ceremonial and Protocol. (New York: ColumbiaUniversity Press, 1970); Raymond Cohen, Theatre of Power: The Art of Diplomatic Signalling.(London: Longmann, 1987); James Der Derian, On Diplomacy: A Genealogy of WesternEstrangement. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987).9.for a useful overview, see Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control inDemocratic Societies. (Toronto: CBC Enterprises, 1989).10.see Stephen Gill (ed.) Gramsci. Historical Materialism, and International Relations.(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).11 .Hamid Mowlana, Global Information and World Communication: New Frontiers inInternational Relations. (New York: Longmann, 1986).12.Thomas McPhail, Electronic Colonialism: The Future of International Broadcasting andCommunication. 2nd ed. (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1987).13.see Kaarle. Nordenstreng and Herbert. I. Schiller, (eds.) National Sovereignty andInternational Communication. (New Jersey: Ablex Publishing, 1979); C.J. Hamelink, CulturalAutonomy in Global Communications. (New York: Longmann, 1983); and John Tomlinson,Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press,1991).14.Deutsch, The Nerves of Government; and Deutsch, Nationalism and Social Communication.15.Walker Connor, “Nation-Building or Nation-Destroying?” World Politics 24 (April 1972),pp.319-355.16.Donald J. Puchala, “Integration Theory and the Study of International Relations,” in RichardL. Merritt and Bruce M. Russett, (eds.) From National Development to Global Community:Essays in Honour of Karl W. Deutsch. (London: G. Allen and Unwin, 1981), pp. 145-164.17.Of course, communications flows are factored into medium theory analyses when changes inthe volume of communication are tied to the properties of a particular medium. For Deutsch,the sheer volume of communications alone was the important variable, regardless of the media.18.Joshua Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place: the impact of electronic media on social behavior.(New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), p. 15.19.Ruth Finnegan, Literacy and Orality: Studies in the Technology of Communication. (Oxford:Basil Blackwell, 1988).5920. Normally, medium theorists are concerned not with the comparative effects of discrete mediaoperating contemporaneously (though this is certainly not excluded) but rather with large-scalechanges in modes of communication that signify epochal changes in human history.21.See Eric Havelock, Preface to Plato, (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of HarvardUniversity Press, 1963); See also Walter J. Ong, Oralitv and Literacy: The Technologizing ofthe Word, (New York: Methuen, 1982), pp. 79-81.22. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, any likeness of any thing that is in heavenabove, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth.” As Postmanexplains, “It is a strange injunction to include as part of an ethical system unless its authorassumed a connection between forms of human communication and the quality of a culture.”(italics in original). See Neal Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death. (New York: PenguinBooks, 1985), p.9.23.As cited Heyer, Communications and History, p.44.24.In addition to other works cited in this study, see especially McLuhan, The GutenbergGalaxy; and McLuhan, Understanding Media.25.Lewis Lapham, “Prime-Time McLuhan,” Saturday Night (September 1994), p. 51.26.See Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, War and Peace in the Global Village, (New York:Bantam Books, 1968).27.See McLuhan, Understanding Media, pp. 36-44; For a collection of critical responses, seeGerald Emaneul Steam, (ed.) McLuhan: Hot and Cool, (New York: Signet Books, 1969).28.See Understanding Media, pp. 36-45.29. “The electric light is pure information” is taken from Understanding Media, p. 23. “Electriccircuitry is Orientalizing the West” is from Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Mediumis the Massage, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967), p. 145.30.For a collection of articles that discuss the “Toronto School”, see Ian Angus and BrianShoesmith, (eds.) “Dependency/Space/Policy: A Dialogue with Harold A. Innis,” Continuum:The Australian Journal of Media & Culture, (Vol. 7, No. 1, 1993).31. See especially Innis, Empire and Communications; and The Bias of Communications.32.Harold A. Innis, The Cod Fisheries: The History of an International Economy, (Toronto:University of Toronto Press, 1954); and Harold A. Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada: AnIntroduction to Canadian Economic History, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1956).33.Heyer attributes the formulating of this distinction to James Carey. See Heyer,Communications and History, p.126.6034.Innis, Empires and Communications. The following overview of Innis is indebted to Heyer’sinformative treatment in Communications and History.35.Heyer, Communications and History, p.115.36.Innis, The Bias of Communications, p.33. [emphasis added]37.On the McLuhanesque renaissance, see Lapham, “PrimeTime McLuhan.” A recent CanadianBroadcasting Corporation documentary produced by Toronto’s media guru Moses Znaimer onthe “TV Revolution” prominently featured interviews with McLuhan. The popular cultural criticCamille Paglia has also drawn significantly from McLuhan. See Camille Paglia, Vamps andTramps: New Essays, (New York: Vintage Books, 1994).38.Havelock, Preface to Plato; Eric Havelock, The Literate Revolution in Greece and itsCultural Consequences, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).39.Jack Goody, Literacy in Traditional Societies, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1975); Jack Goody, The Domestication of the Savage Mind, (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 1978); Jack Goody, The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society, (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1986); Jack Goody, The Interface between the Written and the(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987); Jack Goody and Ian Watt, “Theconsequences of literacy,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, (Vol. 5, 1963), pp. 304-345; Walter Ong, Ramus. Method. and the Decay of Dialogue, (Cambridge: Harvard UniversityPress, 1958); Walter Ong, Interfaces of the Word, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977);and Ong, Orality and Literacy.40.Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications andCultural Transformations in Early Modern Europe, [Volumes I and II] (New York: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1980).41.Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization, (New York: HBJ Publishers, 1934); ErnstGellner, Plough. Sword and Book: The structure of human history, (Chicago: University ofChicago Press, 1988).42.James W. Carey, “McLuhan and Mumford: The Roots of Modern Media Analysis,” Journalof Communication 31 (Summer 1981), p.168.43.John Halverson, “Havelock on Greek Orality and Literacy,” Journal of the History of Ideas53 (No. 1, 1992), pp.160; 162. [italics in original].44.Michael Hunter, “The Impact of Print,” The Book Collector, (1980), p.341.45.As cited in Paul Levinson, “McLuhan and Rationality,” Journal of Communication 31(Summer 1981), p.179.46.Eisenstein, The Printing Press.6147.Tilly explains the reasons for this tendency in the social sciences in the following way:It would be astounding to discover that a single recurrent social process governedall large-scale social change. Perhaps the hope of becoming the Newton of socialprocess tempts social scientists into their repeated, fruitless efforts at discoveringthat philosopher’s stone.Tilly, Big Structures. Large Processes. Huge Comparisons, p. 33. Richard Rorty describes thissearch for master variables or ultimate foundations as attempts to “escape from history.” SeeRichard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1979). More on this search for “ultimate foundations” and attempts to escape history will be saidbelow with regard to the mainstream International Relations field.48.See Hans Blumenberg, The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, [translated by Robert Wallace](Cambridge, Mass.: the MIT Press, 1982); See also, Le Goff, The Medieval Imagination,especially section entitled, “For an Extended Middle Ages.”49.For an overview, see Wiebe Bijker, Thomas Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, The SocialConstruction of Technological Systems, (Cambridge, Mass: the MIT Press, 1989).50.McLuhan and Fiore, The Medium is the Massage; and Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, pp.16-23.51. My views on Darwinian theories of evolution are derived mostly from the following sources:Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in natural history, (New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 1977); Stephen Jay Gould, Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in naturalhistory, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991); Stephen Jay Gould, Eight LittlePiggies: Reflections in natural history, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993); andRichard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, (New York: Penguin Books, 1986).52.For Spencer, see Robert Carnerio, (ed.) The Evolution of Society: Selections from HerbertSpencer’s Principles of Sociology, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974).53.Goody, The Interface Between the Written and the Oral, p.3.54.Innis, The Bias of Communications, p.4.55.Neuman, The Future of the Mass Audience, p. 40.56.Gould, Bully for Brontosaurus, p. 69.57.Ibid.58.See Havelock, Preface to Plato; Ong, Orality and Literacy; and Geilner, Plough. Sword andBook.6259. Ruggie, “Territoriality,” p.157.60.It is important to note that the term “web of beliefs” refers not just to specific beliefs that canbe held or discarded by individuals, but more importantly the space of possible or probablebeliefs that distinguish a population, including unconscious assumptions and cognitive biases.It is also important to note that this notion of a “web of beliefs” is not incompatible with a basic“materialist” outlook, and should not be confused with an airy idealism. John Dewey explainsin general terms how this process of acculturation into an intersubjective body of meanings bearson the young individual:The conceptions that are socially current and important become the child’sprinciples of interpretation and estimation long before he attains to personal anddeliberate control of conduct. Things come to him clothed in language, not inphysical nakedness, and this garb of communication makes him a sharer in thebeliefs of those about him. These beliefs coming to him as so many facts form hismind; they furnish the centres about which his own personal expeditions andperceptions are ordered.Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy, pp. 86-87.61.see Kenneth Gergen and Mary Gergen, (eds.) Historical Social Psychology. (New Jersey,Hillsdale, 1984). “Imagined Communities” is taken from Benedict Anderson ImaginedCommunities. (London: Verso, 1991).62.See Le Goff, The Medieval Imagination.63.see, for examples, Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: an introduction to the sociology ofknowledge. (New York: Harvest Press, 1936); Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The SocialConstruction of Reality. (New York: Anchor Books, 1967). For an application of socialconstructivism to international relations, see Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy is what states make ofit: the social construction of power politics,” International Organization 46 (Spring 1992),pp.391-425.64.Mumford, Technics and Civilization.65.Ibid., p.15.66.Ibid., p.17.67.Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures. (New York: Basic Books, 1973).68.This practice of unearthing unconscious boundaries and biases of thought is, of course, mostoften associated with the work of Michel Foucault. See especially, Michel Foucault, The Orderof Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, (New York: Vintage Books, 1970); and63The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language, [Translated by A.M. SheridanSmith], (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972).69.Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind, (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, mc, 1968).70.For classical realist speculations on a fixed and determining human nature, see HansMorganthau, Scientific Man vs. Power Politics, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,1946); Reinhold Niebuhr, “Human Nature and the Will to Power,” in H. Davis and R. Good,(eds.) Reinhold Niebuhr on Politics, (New York: Charlers Scribner’s Sons, 1960); and KennethWaltz, Man, the State. and War, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954). On “rational”actor assumptions, see Robert Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the WorldPolitical Economy, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984); and Kenneth Oye, (ed.)Cooperation Under Anarchy, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).71 .As Stephen Gould aptly put it, “the statement that humans are animals does not imply thatour specific patterns of behaviour and social arrangements are in any way directly determinedby our genes. Potentiality and determination are different concepts.” Gould, Ever SinceDarwin, p. 251.72.On institutions, see Robert Keohane, “International Institutions: Two Approaches,”International Studies Ouarterly 32(1988), pp. 379-396; Friedrich Kratochwil, Norms. Rules andDecisions, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); and John Gerard Ruggie andFriedrich Kratochwil, “International Organization: The State of the Art on an Art of the State,”International Organization 40 (1986), pp. 753-76.73.For discussion, see Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization; and Daniel Deudney, EAtomica: Planetary Geopolitics and Republicanism, (forthcoming, 1995).74.Bruce Mazlish, The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines, (NewHaven: Yale University Press, 1993), p. 5.75.See Stephen K. Sanderson, “Evolutionary Materialism: A Theoretical Strategy for the Studyof Social Evolution,” Sociological Perspectives, (Vol. 37, No. 1, 1994), pp. 47-73.76.See Daniel Deudney, “Bringing Nature Back In,” in Daniel Deudney and Richard Matthew,(eds.) Contested Grounds: Security and Conflict in the New Environment Politics, (New York:SUNY Press, 1995).77.One of the more starker examples in this respect is the impact of the “Black Plague” on therestructuring of human society in the late Middle Ages. See Ruggie, “Territoriality”; andBarbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, (New York: BallantineBooks, 1978).78.This view closely resembles Robert Cox’s “historical-structures” approach, which:64sees human nature and the other structures that define social andpolitical reality -- from the structure of language through those of laws, morals, and institutions,and including the state and world-order structures like the balance ofpower -- asbeing themselves products of history and thus subject to change.Robert Cox, “Production, the State, and Change in World Order,” in Czempiel and Rosenau,(eds.) Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges, p. 38.79. Sanderson, “Evolutionary Materialism,” p. 50.80.On “long-cycles” in world politics, see George Modelski, Long Cycles in World Politics,(London: Macmillan Press, 1987); and William R. Thompson, “Ten Centuries of GlobalPolitical-Economic Cvolution,” (Paper prepared for delivery to the workshop on EvolutionaryParadigms in the Social Sciences, Batelle Seattle Conference Centre, University of Washington,Seattle, May 13-14, 1994). On progressive stages of development, see W.W. Rostow, ThStages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 1960).81.On an explication of “Darwinist” views of history similar to my own, see Richard Rorty,“Dewey between Hegel and Darwin,” in D. Ross, (ed.) Modernist Impulses in the HumanSciences: 1870-1930, (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), pp. 54-68.82.John Lewis Gaddis, “Tectonics, History and the End of the Cold War,” in John Lewis Gaddis(ed.) The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications. Reconsiderations.Provocations, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992).83.For discussion of “punctuated equilibrium” see Gould, Eight Little Piggies, pp. 277-279. Thetheory was actually formulated by Gould in conjunction with Niles Eldridge. For an attempt atapplication in International Relations theory, see Krasner, “Sovereignty,” pp. 66-94.84.Ibid., p. 53.85. Keohane, “International Institutions,” pp. 379-96.86.Cox, “Social Forces, States, and World Order,” p. 210.87.Gellner, Plough. Sword, and Book, p. 12.88.For similar views of the ahistorical tendencies of neorealism and neoliberalism see EmanuelAdler, “Cognitive Evolution: A Dynamic Approach for the Study of International Relations andTheir Progress,” in Emanuel Adler and Beverly Crawford (eds.) Progress in PostwarInternational Relations. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), pp. 43-88; Wendt,“Anarchy,” pp. 391-396; and Richard K. Ashley, “Three Modes of Economism,” InternationalStudies Quarterly 27 (1983). Cf. Waltz, Theory of International Politics.89.Adler, “Cognitive Evolution,” p. 43.6590.Ibid., p. 44.91.See Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics.92.Wendt, “Anarchy,” p. 392.93.For an overview of the “relative vs. absolute gains” debate, see Robert Powell, “Anarchy ininternational relations theory: the neorealist-neoliberal debate,” International Organization 48(Spring 1994), pp. 313-344; and David A. Baldwin, (ed.) Neorealism and Neoliberalism: TheContemporary Debate, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993).94.Adler, “Cognitive Evolution,” p. 43.95.My use of the term “historicism” follows that of Robert Cox, who draws from GiambattistaVico in seeing history as an open-ended evolutionary process. See Cox, “Social Forces, States,and World Order,” p. 213. In this sense, it is defined in complete opposition to Karl Popper’suse of the term in The Poverty of Historicism, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957) to single-outtheories that see history in law-like terms.96.See Cox, “Social Forces, States, and World Order,”; Robert Cox, “Multilateralism and WorldOrder,” Review of International Studies 18 (1992), pp.161-180; and Cox, “Towards a PostHegemonic Conceptualization of World Order.”97.See Deudney, Pax Atomica; and Daniel Deudney, Global Geopolitics: Materialist WorldOrder Theories of the Industrial Era. 1850-1950. (Ph.D. Dissertation, Princeton University,1989).98.Wendt, “Anarchy,”; Kratochwil, Rules. Norms, and Decisions; and Nicholas Onuf, Worldof Our Making. (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989).99.Carmen Luke, Pedagogy. Printing, and Protestantism: The Discourse on Childhood, (NewYork: SUNY Press, 1989), p. 29.100. Ruggie, “Territoriality,” p. 152.101 .Adler, “Cognitive Evolution,” p. 47; and Ernst Hans, “Words Can Hurt You: or Who SaidWhat to Whom about Regimes,” in Stephen D. Krasner, (ed.) International Regimes (Ithaca:Cornell University Press, 1983).102.In a footnote (“Anarchy,” p. 398, fn. 27), Wendt concedes that some constructivistapproaches may be “oversocialized” when dealing with “presocial but non-determining humanneeds,” but he goes no further in elaborating if and when other “material” factors beyondneurophysiological adaptations, like climate and population for example, would enter into thepicture.66PART ONEPrinting and the Medieval To Modern World Ordçr Transformation67Chapter Two: From the Parchment Codex to the Printing Press:The Sacred Word and the Rise and Fall of Medieval TheocracyIntroductionIn 1212, Pope Innocent III -- without a military force of his own -- orchestrated a greatcoalition of western European princes designed to oust Otto IV of Brunswick as King ofGermany and halt his bid for hegemony over Italy by installing Frederick II (Innocent’s ward)in his place. Carrying out the Pope’s bidding was Philip Augustus of France, who inflicted acrushing defeat of Otto’s forces at the battle of Boivines in 1214. Turning to England, Innocentbecame embroiled in a lengthy dispute with King John over the election of Stephen Langton,Innocent’s appointment to the see of Canterbury. Though King John was initially hostile andrecalcitrant, Innocent suspended church services throughout England and, turning again to PhilipAugustus for help, threatened the invasion of England. Bowed under the awesome putativepower of Papal authority, John not only conceded Langton as archbishop, but he recognizedInnocent as his own feudal overlord.1 The controversy resembled another instance 150 yearsearlier when a dispute between Pope Gregory VII and German King Henry IV over ecclesiasticalappointments resulted in a Papal Bull of excommunication, which effectively freed Henry’ssubjects from their oath of fealty. The King’s support rapidly diminished, and the once-powerfulHenry was forced to seek absolution from Gregory -- an humiliating defeat borne not of superiormilitary force, but overwhelming moral authority.2 The suasive power of successive popes inthis respect is perhaps best evidenced by the ongoing series of military crusades called for by theChurch against other civilizations, which were then undertaken willingly by princes, knights and68commoners.These illustrations all exemplify the power of the Roman Catholic Church over, andpenetration into, secular authority during its zenith in the High Middle Ages. From theperspective of much of mainstream International Relations theorizing it is truly a remarkableanomaly that with no private army of its own, and initially no great material wealth, the smallbishopric of Rome could eventually develop into “the most powerful feudal court in Europe,receiving oaths of allegiance from princes and kings, exacting taxes and interfering in affairs ofstate throughout Christendom. . . “ The Church was the one institution that straddled all of thecompeting, cross-cutting jurisdictions of medieval political authority during medieval times, andthough its effectiveness and dominance was more than once undermined by secular power orincompetent rule, from the 11th to the 13th centuries it came close to unifying western Europeunder a centralized “papal monarchy.” What explains the Church’s predominance? Accordingto Curran, the power of the Church cannot be understood without reference to “its earlydominance over institutional processes of ideological production that created and maintainedsupport for its exercise of power.”5 To understand the papacy, then, we must also understandthe mode of communication.In this chapter, I provide a historical narrative of developments in communicationstechnologies leading up to the printing press in western Europe. The bulk of the chapter willbe devoted to an examination of the way in which the mode of communication was implicatedin the Church’s hegemony over medieval world order. This examination will then set the stage69for an overview of the development of printing and the change in the communicationsenvironment. Contrary to more popular accounts, the printing press did not arrive on theEuropean scene like a flash in the dark, but was the product of slow, converging social pressuresfor more efficient communications. It represented a much wider ferment in western Europeansociety as a whole, partially in response to the spiritual decline and growing secularism of theRoman Catholic Church. The purpose of this chapter, then, is to situate the change in the modeof communication in its historical context -- to underscore what I earlier called the “socialembeddedness” of technological innovation. The consequences for world order transformationof this change of communications environment will then be taken up in the ensuing two chapters.The sanctity of the written wordLanguage and communication are such integral components of human life that it isdifficult to imagine a time without the abstract symbols regularly employed by humans to conveymeaning. Yet if we look back to the evolutionary juncture 35,000 years ago at which timemodern humans replaced Neanderthals, and assume that human beings have been able tocommunicate the spoken word in some capacity since then, it was not until nearly 32,000 yearslater that a crude form of writing was first invented.6 Thus for the vast majority of time, thehuman species has been characterized by primitive orality. Of course, human beings had beendrawing pictures and scratching marks as memory aids for millenia prior to the invention ofwriting, but these pictographs and markings cannot be included as examples of true writtenscripts, which do “not consist of mere pictures, of representations of things, but [are]70representation[s] of an utterance, of words that someone says or is imagined to say.”7 Mostscripts have their origins in and probably evolved out of such graphic arts. They certainlydepend on the same physical attributes: that is, the ability to manipulate tools with an opposablethumb and coordinated by the eye, ear and brain.8 The difference lies in the degree to whichthe graphic system of writing proper “succeeds in duplicating the linguistic one, that is, in theextent, first, of word-to-sign (semantic) correspondence and, secondly, of phoneticcorrespondence.”9The first such written system that we know of was developed among the Sumerians inMesopotamia beginning around 3500 BC. Archaeological evidence suggests that this writingsystem evolved out of the use of clay tokens, which were used to record payments andinventories of grain following the shift to agricultural production at the beginning of the Neolithicperiod.’0 As society grew more complex and came more to depend on the clay tokens forfacilitating transactions, the tokens themselves were dispensed with in favour of two-dimensionalsymbols that corresponded to the three-dimensional shapes of the tokens. This first undecipheredpictorial system from the city of Uruk IV is thought to have evolved gradually into the cuneiform(wedge-shaped) orthography used to write down the language of the Sumerians around 3100 BC -- the earliest known system of writing.There is a temptation in tracing the impetus for the development of writing to reduce itsolely to the functional imperatives of economics or urbanization, but it is important to bear inmind that the reproduction of writing -- whatever its ultimate origins -- has always been closely71associated with a spiritual elite. Social anthropologists and historians have usually attributed thisassociation to the fragility of texts or tablets, which seem to favour the privileging of a class ofclerics who are charged with the preservation of sacred norms and rules.” An even morecompelling explanation probably lies in the point of view of those who first developed writing -- a capability that “could not be credited to mere mortals.”2 It is not surprising, then, thatmost early civilizations that were acquainted with writing shrouded their origins in myths andlegends, such as the Egyptian god Thoth -- the creator of writing.13 Nor is it surprising thatthose charged with reproducing and interpreting the word should be revered. According toGellner, “the mysterious power of writing in recording, transmitting, and freezing affirmationsand commands soon endows it with an awe-inspiring prestige, and causes it to be fused with theauthority of ritual specialists.”14 The priest or cleric, as custodian of the sacred text, is amediator with the forces or Deity “beyond” and thus achieves an empowerment associated withthe skill required to interpret the word-- a general pattern found especially among religions ofthe Book, such as Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.Looking back from our own perspective when the word has been dissolved into anelectronic code and copies are cheap and plentiful, it is difficult to appreciate fully the way thetext itself could have value beyond the words it contains. Yet it is important that we approachthe manuscript culture of medieval Europe from this perspective of the distant origins of thesacred word for it helps to shed light on the privileged status of the medieval clergy. Similarto the position of ancient scribes in other cultures, medieval Church clerics were the guardiansof the word, and the “Word was God.” As a religion of the Book, the Roman Catholic Church72carried over many of the same general attributes found in other such religions, including theveneration of the word and the reverence of those charged with its reproduction. One importantpillar of Church authority, then, was the privileged position enjoyed by the literate clergy asguardians of the text in a largely illiterate society. As Anderson puts it, “The astonishing powerof the papacy in its noonday is only comprehensible in terms of a trans-European Latin-writingclerisy, and a conception of the world, shared by virtually everyone, that the bilingualintelligentsia, by mediating between vernacular and Latin, mediated between earth andheaven.”6Consider, for example, the status of language during the early to High Middle Ages. Atthis time language was not generally conceived of as an arbitrary and thus interchangeable sign,but rather a channel to ontological truth -- an emanation of reality rather than a representationof it.17 The spoken and the written word were considered to be continuous with nature, a beliefreflected in the view that the meanings of words were tied to the things signified. This“Adamic” view of language sought knowledge through finding the divinely ordained, naturalhomology between words and things that was set down following Creation by Adam.’8Foucault describes how according to the Adamic view:There is no difference between the visible marks that God has stamped upon thesuiface of the earth, so that we may know its inner secrets, and the legible wordsthat the Scriptures.. .have set down in the books preservedfor us by tradition. Therelation of these texts is of the same nature as the relation to things: in both casesthere are signs that must be discovered.’9Accordingly, texts were considered sacred fonts of wisdom from a pure past and an Other73World-- a belief that often manifested itself in worship of the medium itself, which wasattributed metaphysical, quasi-magical powers. Marc Drogin explains:Since God or the gods invented the alphabet -- everyone believed it to be divineinspiration-- the letters were holy. Since it was letters that formed words, thewords were equally holy. In a time when what was holy was born of themiraculous and when the fine line between miracle and magic was difficult todiscern, the three terms could be easily interchanged. Letters and words weremiraculous in origin and therefore were the stuff of magic.2°Drogin notes how it was not uncommon to find the mingling of words or texts inmedicinal instructions, such as the herbal mixture called the holy salve in which the personpreparing the mix is directed to write in it with a spoon: “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”2’An 11th century manuscript advises patients prone to fever to wear strips of parchment aroundtheir necks on which is to be written “In the name of Our Lord, who was crucified under Pilate,FLEE YE FEVERS.”22 The mysterious powers attributed to the text help to explain thecrusader’s odd practice of wearing a parchment scroll beneath the coat of mail, or having prayersand odd letter combinations inscribed on their weapons. Rituals such as these only make senseif the person performing them is acculturated into the belief that the word or text has aconnection to the Divine. The exceptions to this rule are equally instructive for in the verydefiance of the sanctity of the word, they reveal the scope and depth of the norm. For example,in 1022 a group of heretics were burned in Orleans for referring to the clergy’s knowledge ashuman fabrications “written on the skins of animals,” as opposed to what the heretics believedwas the “law written in the inner man by the Holy Spirit.”23Although the fact that the Roman Catholic Church shared this general tendency found74among other religions of the Book does offer some insight into the power and status of themedieval clergy, it does not explain how the Church arrived at this position from its “obscurebeginnings as a small persecuted community in the capital of the Roman Empire,”24 nor howthe Church’s fortunes were related to a specific technology of communication. For acomprehensive explanation along these lines, we must trace the vagaries of the mode of thecommunication following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. As will beshown below, the Church’s rise to prominence was contingent on a combination of fortuitouscircumstances in which we could include the peculiarities of the mode of communication. Avariety of other historical contingencies not so fortuitous from the Church’s perspective thencontributed to its demise.The rise and fall of medieval theocracyThe internal disintegration of the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries,compounded by successive waves of “barbarian” invasions, left much of western Europe outsidethe bounds of Roman administration.25 In its heyday, the Roman Empire governed itselfthrough the administration of a literate bureaucracy among whom communications restedsignificantly on written texts on papyrus rolls, and a highly efficient network of roads.26 Uponits demise, much of western Europe returned to a state of primitive orality and personalizedforms of rule characteristic of the Germanic invaders.27 In the city of Rome, the collapse ofImperial authority created a void into which the only plausible alternative was the bishopric ofthe Catholic Church, an alternative that was facilitated by the work of successive Christian75emperors, who endowed the Church with special privileges and helped to outlaw paganism.Though many popes were weak and ineffectual through this period, the first who seemed to haveperceived the opportunity for the bishopric of Rome was Pope Leo I (also known as St. Leo theGreat). By negotiating with the invading Huns and Vandals for the safety of the city of Rome,and by asserting the so-called Petrine Doctrine (which sought to link the Roman see directly toSt. Peter) Leo vastly increased the prestige of the papacy throughout western Christendom. AsCantor explains, “half-consciously the pope worked to make the Roman episcopate the successorto the Roman state in the West.”28Leo’s prominent ideological work was complemented by the growth of a literate monasticnetwork that gradually spread through western Europe. Throughout the period of RomanImperial disintegration, many well-born aristocrats converted to Christianity, carrying over tothe Church their literary education and respect for the preservation of the written wordcharacteristic of late antiquity.29 To be sure, while the Church could soon count among itsranks nearly all literate individuals in Europe, literacy was limited to a small group. The normfor western Europeans, for whom much of life was violent and chaotic, was primitive orality --that is, the overwhelming majority of people were confined to the bounds of the spoken word.Even many Church priests were illiterate, unable to comprehend the Latin phrases they regularlyparroted for their parishioners. But the veneration and preservation of the word that was carriedover by former Roman aristocrats gradually became fused with the practices of monasticismmaking the Church an island of literacy in an otherwise oral culture. In Cantor’s words:The Latin church was preservedfrom extinction, and European civilization with76it, by the two ecclesiastical institutions that alone had the strength and efficiencyto withstand the impress of surrounding barbarism: the regular clergy (that is,the monks) and the papacy.3°The moulding of Christian monasticism around the preservation and veneration of thewritten word was first given doctrinal formulation in the works of St. Benedict and Cassiodorusin the early Middle Ages, where the idea of the monasticist scriptorium was outlined and bookcopying was portrayed as a sacred act.31 Doctrines flowing from these two figures instilled theclose connection between the ability to read and the religious life of the monk, as well as thecultural and spiritual importance of the conservation and transmission of the written word. “Thismeant that the monastery needed to have the means -- a library, a school, a scriptorium -- thatquite naturally made it an exclusive and culturally privileged place.”32 One reason why themonasteries thrived in the early Middle Ages was precisely this exclusion from the disorder oflife outside. Ironically, their self-imposed isolation acted as a magnet for those drawn tolearning, for “the Benedictine monastery alone, during the early Middle Ages, had the continuity,the dedication, the library, and the substantial supply of teachers to serve as an effectiveeducational institution.Another reason why the monastic network thrived in the early Middle Ages relates to achoice of media in the early history of the Catholic Church. The Roman Empire had developeda relatively efficient postal system and bureaucracy based mostly on the use of the light-weight,but fragile, papyrus rolls.34 Archaeological evidence of the earliest Christian Bible codicesfrom Egypt reveal that the Christian community was nearly alone in favouring parchment overthe papyrus roll.35 Early Church fathers and missionaries preferred the parchment codex77because it was both more suitable for easy reference than the cumbersome scroll and it was moredurable under poor travelling conditions -- an especially important feature for travellingpreachers. Some historians believe that Christians remained wedded to the parchment codexbecause they were a persecuted sect without access to the papyrus leaves used by officialRome.36 In any event, parchment, rather than papyrus, was the medium of choice for theChristian religion, and it remained so into the Middle Ages as a result of both institutional inertiaand functional complementarity. If only out of the sheer force of habit, in other words, theChristian community formed an institutional bond with parchment-- a fortuitous choice ascircumstances would later reveal.According to medium theory, communications environments have distributionalconsequences insofar as they facilitate the interests of specific social forces; the relationshipbetween parchment and monasticism is a clear illustration in this respect. As Innis notes,“Parchment as a medium was suited to the spread of monasticism from Egypt throughout westernEurope.”37 Parchment, or membranae, was manufactured from the hides of animals, a variationon leather making.38 Unlike papyrus, which had to be produced centrally, parchment wasespecially suited to the decentralized agrarian-rural monastic network that spread through westernEurope after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Individual monasteries could remain selfsufficient, manufacturing parchment from the skins of their own livestock or those from thesurrounding farms. Sheeps, cows, goats, rabbits and squirrels all provided the skins for variousqualities of parchment. Goose quills were used for pens, while ink was supplied out of acombination of gall nuts, organic salts of iron and lampblack. All of these materials were in78abundance in the woods and valleys of western Europe in the early Middle Ages.39 Furtheringthe papal-monastic interests was the near-total disappearance of papyrus from western Europe atthis time. The vast Roman Empire prior to the 5th century was able to sustain the importationand production of papyrus rolls by its links to the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. Followingthe collapse of the Empire and the accompanying rise of Islam in Egypt and elsewhere, however,papyrus exports to the West significantly diminished leaving parchment the sole remainingmedium of written communications.4° Parchment -- in a sense by default -- became thedominant medium of communication. Coincidentally, it was also the medium produced bymonastic orders in conjunction with the Roman Catholic Church.Parchment and the papal-monastic network formed a symbiotic relationship in thecommunications environment of the early Middle Ages: monasteries were largely self-containedislands of literacy and centres of knowledge reproduction in an oral-agrarian environment.Parchment was the medium of choice of the early Church fathers. It was sustained as suchthrough institutional inertia and functional compatibility with missionary/monastic life. It wasproduced from materials that were in abundance in western Europe, and it had no serious rivalmedium of written communications. Secular literacy virtually disappeared in most of westernEurope leaving the clergy as the sole custodians and suppliers of written information. Fromthese converging circumstances surrounding the communications environment of the time, then,the Roman Catholic papal-monastic network began to flourish and spread throughout WesternEurope. Its monopoly over the reproduction of written information was to have significantconsequences for the prevailing cosmology of the medieval world order.79Structural characteristics of the Church’s hegemony in the High Middle AgesGiven the Church’s early monopoly over written communications, it is no surprise thatknowledge reproduction was distorted -- “pagan writing was neglected and Christian writingemphasized.”4’ Cantor points out that Benedictine monasteries took a functional, Augustinianapproach to copying classical texts, using them in a secondary derivative sense, and passing overthose that contradicted the Gospels or had little relevance to Christian doctrine.42 Likewise,Miccoli notes how monks were instilled into a ritual which emphasized “a deep assimilation ofGod’s word through a constant and repeated rereading of Scripture (meditatio andrumunatio).”43 In principle, ancient pagan works had no autonomy in the official Churchcosmology, but were tolerated for instrumental reasons -- that is, “as they contributed to thelinguistic and literary formation of the monks. “i Of course, it was precisely because of thetoleration of pagan authors -- even in a subordinate sense -- that many important classical workswere transmitted. Ironically, other classical works were passed on to posterity quite by accident:when parchment was in short supply, monks would often re-copy the Gospels over pagan works,and it is through this recopying process that many ancient texts were rediscovered.45 But thefact remains that “between the sixth century and the middle of the eighth century, virtually allclassical texts ceased to be copied. “46 As suggested above, this selective reproduction was notso much a matter of deliberate censorship as it was a combination of both indifference andpriority. At the very least, it was the product of the heavy demand placed on scribes to copythe scriptures alone. Important in this respect is the relatively expensive and laboriousmanuscript copying process, which may have been a seasonal activity in parts of Europe.4780Nonetheless, the monastic reproduction process had a clear aim to recopy the Holy Word, andin doing so, it both reaffirmed and reinforced a reading of history that emphasized the destinyof the Church in that historical process, to the exclusion of other possible interpretations. InMiccoli’ s words:when monasticism reduced all other reality to its own image and its own religiousand cultural schemata in the aim ofbending them to an explanation and exaltationof the choice and the experience of monastic life, it discovered the subterraneanideological, political, and social roots of its own origins that provided furthersupport to its affirmation in history.48While it would most certainly be wrong to portray the Church as a quasi-totalitarianorganization-- a medieval “Big Brother” -- the monopoly over the written word did conferspecial advantages. At the very least, the guarding and sifting of organized knowledge kept aloose discursive boundary on cosmological speculation, especially in the early Middle Ages. Wemust not forget in this respect that monasteries were, for most of the Middle Ages, the soleeducational outlet instructing, “at a conservative estimate 90 percent of the literate men between600 and 1100. . . “ Duby makes the important point that no distinction was made betweenculture and propaganda during the Middle Ages since “to educate was to convert.”50 Thosewho did not get formal education attended mass. Curran asserts that the “proportion of the adultpopulation in Europe regularly attending mass during the central Middle Ages was almostcertainly higher than the proportion of adults in contemporary Europe regularly reading anewspaper.”5’ And the papal curia exercised a tight control over the content of the massthrough set liturgies, reinforcing a macro-micro coordination of Church doctrine throughoutwestern Europe.5281This hegemony over cultural and ideological production was buttressed by themaintenance of huge Papal archives which provided important political and legal leverage;forgeries, like the infamous Donation of Constantine, were used by the Papacy to providelegitimacy to assertions of Church authority over, and independence from, secular rule.53 Thisparticular document first emerged during the 8th century, and was used throughout the MiddleAges as evidence of a supposed grant from the Roman Emperor Constantine to Pope SylvesterI conceding supreme authority to the Pope over Italy and the rest of the western Church.54However, the Donation of Constantine was no exception; forgeries were prominent ways ofestablishing privileges, especially monastic charters. For example, following the NormanConquest of England forgeries among the local Black monks rose dramatically.55The Church’s influence over ideology did not rest with matters purely cosmological,either. Because the aristocracy throughout much of the Middle Ages were generally illiterate,they depended on the interposition of clergy to help carry out various administrative functions.This comfortable interlocutor position meant that the Church was able to intervene, if onlyindirectly, in secular, as well as ecclesiastical, matters. As Bloch points out, “the princes wereobliged to rely on the clerical element among their servants for services that the rest of theirentourage would have been incapable of rendering.”56 Thus William of Normandy turned tothe monks after his conquest of England “to organize a wiser and more prudent administrationof the crown’s holdings.”57 More so than other members of society, church clerics and monkshad a reputation for “an introspective wisdom and a power of analysis, a capacity for detachedrealism” that made them attractive for secular administrative functions.58 By the 12th century82it was not uncommon to find Benedictine monks employed as royal chancellors, state advisorsand chief ministers for secular rulers-- a considerable shift from their origins as members ofself-contained, isolated islands of literacy in the 9th century.59 Of course, intervention alongthese lines had important political consequences. According to Bloch:It is important to realize that the decisions of the powerful of this world weresometimes suggested and always expressed by men who, whatever their nationalor class allegiances, none the less belonged by their whole training to a societyby nature universalist and founded on spiritual things. Beyond question theyhelped to maintain, above the confusion ofpetty local strife, a concernfor certainwider issues. When required. . . to give written form to acts of policy, they feltimpelled to justify them officially by reasons drawn from their own moral code.6°Gradually, the Church came to rely more and more on written administration and formaldocumentation to underpin its authority. By the mid-l2th century, under Alexander III, theadministrative and judicial activity of the papal curia expanded and became more specialized --a reflection of the way the written word permeated all Church activity.61 Church doctrines --formulated at the official Lateran Councils -- were then issued in formal proclamations, such asthe Decretum, and accepted authoritatively throughout much of western Christendom.62While written communications were the backbone of the papal-monastic informationnetwork, the Church disseminated its message to the local populations through a medieval multimedia experience designed to accommodate mass illiteracy. As Le Goff points out:Latin Christianity made an important choice in the Carolingian epoch. It choseimages, rejecting the nonfigurative art of the Jews and the Moslems and theiconoclasm of Greek Byzantine Christianity and firmly establishing medievalChristian anthropomorphism.6383The Church consciously employed the image to convey the Christian message to the illiteratemasses in a way that was deeply symbolic. Probably the most well-known medieval dictum onart is Gregory the Great’s pronouncement that pictures are the “books of the illiterate.M Thiswas a time prior to the emergence of imitation and perspective characteristic of “realism”-- atime in which the didactic and ideological purposes of forms in paintings and sculptures faroutweighed in significance their aesthetic value. Visual art “was not so much an expression ofthe visible world, as of the spoken word in a still predominantly oral society.”65 The imagesreproduced in outwardly visible signs the social and cosmological hierarchy of the times.66 Forexample, colours had a symbolic content as part of an hierarchical value system in which red andblue were marks of power and status, while yellow was the colour of evil and deceit.67 Thoughimagery was found on the margins of manuscripts, most of the population encountered them onthe walls and stained glass of local cathedrals, which invariably featured the macabre tortures ofhell alongside the visual narratives of Christ’s teachings. The cathedrals themselves, in theirvery form, were significant in a symbolic sense as well: “the construction of churches toweringover their pastoral flock symbolized the looming presence of God over all aspects of life.”68This multi-media experience did a great deal to shape the character of the medieval mentalite,which did not share the cognitive boundaries so characteristic of modernity between the “real”and the “imaginary,” or the “natural” and the “metaphysical.”69Although my theoretical lens has been directed at the constraints imposed and theopportunities created by the communications environment, there were, of course, other factorsthat were responsible for the Church’s rise to hegemony. Most important in this respect is the84appeal of the message regardless of the medium: we should not lose sight of the fact thatChristianity offered a coherent and compelling narrative of justice that both explained thedisorder of the times and offered a promise of salvation in an Other World.70 This coherentmoral vision strongly resonated in the chaotic environment of the early Middle Ages in Europe,where disorder and brutality were the norm for most people. The Church was also particularlyadept at tailoring its message to suit the vagaries of local communities, especially in the earlyMiddle Ages when myths and rituals of pagan sects were made compatible with the teachings ofChrist. Under the astute stewardship of Pope Gregory I the Great, the Church purposefullyassumed a quasi-magical hue to conform to the pagan rituals of the Germanic and Frankishpeoples.7’ As Curran points out, “the whole paraphernalia of ecclesiastical sorcery and ritualwas of crucial importance in mediating an ecclesiastical construction of reality that underpinnedpapal hegemony.”72 Each regular routine of daily life was informed by elaborate and mysticalchurch rituals, such as baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial. The Church activelyencouraged the veneration of saints with miracle powers -- a superstition strongly reminiscentof the pagan worship of various natural gods.73 And each of these adaptations was a mixture of“cosmic-universal and the mundane-particular” so that “however vast Christendom might be, andwas sensed to be, it manifested itself variously to particular Swabian or Andalusian communitiesas replications of themselves.”74 A coherent and suasive message coupled with an hospitablecommunications environment combined to underpin the papal-monastic network as “the dominantinstitution in Europe’s information system.”7585Counter-hegemonic forces and the decline of the ChurchNo sooner had the Church reached its pinnacle of power in the High Middle Ages,however, than counter-hegemonic forces began to surface that would eventually undermine itsauthority.76 Many of these forces emerged precisely as a result of the Church’s monopoly overwritten information. By the 13th and 14th centuries, the papacy had become so permeated withand dependent on the written word that its institutions grew more legalistic and bureaucratic, withthe papal curia evolving into a complex, top-heavy, administrative organ. Throughout the HighMiddle Ages, successive popes and Church prelates were likely to be just as informed by canonlaw and practical affairs as they were in spiritual matters.77 Such a formalist-legalistinfrastructure had the unfortunate consequence of gradually distancing many of the Churchadministrators from the spirit of popular devotion that helped make Christianity a success in thefirst place. As Cantor relates:The lawyer-popes of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were far more successfulin fulfilling the administrative than the spiritual responsibilities of their office.Theirjuristic education and bureaucratic experience did not tell them how to copewith the emotional religiosity and heretical inclinations of the urbancommunities.78Barraclough notes that the “papal curia had the atmosphere of a law-court or businessoffice.”79 Within the Church many lower-level clergy grew sceptical of the formal ecclesiasticalhierarchy, believing that Rome had less and less affinity to the teachings of the Gospels or thestandards of apostolic poverty.80 The most apparent sign of this smouldering dissatisfaction wasthe sudden ignition of popular heresies in various periods and regions. Many of these heresiesdefined themselves in fundamentalist, back-to-basics terms, hostile to the abstract, legalistic86machinery that now characterized the Roman Catholic Church.8’ Beginning in the 11thcentury, hermit-saints preaching ascetic tendencies and withdrawal from the spiritual degradationof worldly life first made their appearance.82 These heretical movements were the first in aseries of popular challenges to Church hegemony on spiritual matters over the next few centuriesthat would eventually culminate in the Protestant Reformation -- a topic that will be taken upagain in the following chapter.A second area where the transnational authority of the Roman Catholic Church was beingchallenged was in the sphere of knowledge reproduction. As outlined above, from the fall ofRome to the 12th century the papal-monastic network maintained a near-total monopoly on thereproduction of the written word. However, “from the end of the 12th century a profoundtransformation took place.”83 Gradually, secular literacy began to rise among the urbanpopulations and secular administrators -- a slow shift that signals the first signs of a change inthe communications environment. The increasing reliance on the scribe and the written wordplaced strains on the functional capacity of the monastic network to meet the demands of agrowing literate populace. Centres of knowledge reproduction, many of which were notcontained within the formal Church hierarchy, arose to service this increased demand.For example, one area in society where the demand was high and where an alternativebook trade developed was within the newly founded universities.84 A new reading publicemerged within university circles that, while still chiefly clerical, was not formally attached toa religious organization but to the corporate university community. Professors and students87needed texts for their courses, and libraries were established within universities to meet thedemand for manuscripts. Professional craftsmen, organized as Guilds of Scriveners orStationers, were then hired by the university to reproduce scholarly texts.85 The universitiesrepresented a growing “secularization” of learning and education that further undermined themonopoly of knowledge maintained by the monastic orders up to the High Middle Ages.In other areas of society too, new reading publics emerged that yearned for secularliterature. For example, an urban literate bourgeois class was first appearing alongside thenobility and the clergy. As Thomas describes, “Lawyers, lay advisors at Court, state officials,and, later on, rich merchants and town citizens -- all needed books, not only in their ownsubjects like law, politics or science, but also works of literature, edifying moral treatises,romances and translations.”86 Works in the vernacular began to appear as growing exceptionsto the Latin norm and as reflections of the gradually rising strength of local, secular identitiesand communities. Yet a further erosion of the monastic monopoly was the rise of governmentbureaucracies requiring secular, literate administrators who were increasingly siphoned off fromthe universities. This change was reflected in the supercession of law over theology as thespecialization of choice for most students.87 Even within largely illiterate circles social relationswere gradually succumbing to the written word: by the 13th century, property transactionsbetween peasants were being recorded by charter rather than the oath.88 Manuscriptreproduction, which now occurred outside of the papal-monastic network, grew more specializedand complex, reflecting the rising pressures from society for the written word. Separatespecialized workshops sprouted to deal with various components of the manuscript production88process, with copyists in one shop, rubricators in another, and illuminators in yet another.89These converging pressures naturally focused attention on ways of “improving the supplyof manuscripts to meet the rising level of demand.”9° Traditional techniques of manuscriptproduction were insufficient to service the increasing dependence of all spheres of society andeconomics on the written word. The first improvement came in terms of the importation ofpaper as an alternative material to parchment for written communications. Paper first made itsappearance in western Europe in the 12th century, imported into Italy by Arab merchants, whothemselves had acquired it from China in the 8th century.9’ Paper production techniques werealso acquired by the Christian West following the reconquest of Spain from the Muslims, whohad been using paper regularly since at least the 10th century.92 Unlike parchment, which wasexpensive to produce, heavy in form, and generally difficult with which to work, paper wascheap and light-weight. Despite its apparent superiority over parchment, paper was slow tospread throughout Europe. Resistance was probably due to a combination of its relative fragility,craftsmen’s inertia, and religious bigotry. The Abbot of Cluny, Peter the Venerable, wasprobably not alone in having a contempt for paper because of its association with the “infidel”Jews and Arabs.93 Despite this resistance, paper spread rather quickly once the social demandfor cheaper books and manuscripts intensified.94 According to Febvre and Martin:the demand for paper was felt in many new fields: teaching spread, businesstransactions became more complex, writing multiplied and there was a growingneed for paper for non-literaiy uses, by tradesmen, haberdashers, grocers,chandlers. A whole new species of trades was created which depended on paper:carriers, box-makers, playing-card makers, bill-posters and related trades.9589The printing pressOf course, these very same converging social pressures for more efficient communicationsfocused energy not only on the material on which the written word was produced, but also onthe technique of reproduction. As Schottenloher put it, “The actual shining hour for paper,however, came only with the discovery of printing, when printing found in paper its mostpowerful ally.”96 A reflection of the widespread pressures in the 15th century for a method ofmanuscript reproduction are the many multiple claims to the invention of the printing press. Forexample, many Dutch believe that their countryman Laurens Janszoon Coster should be givencredit for experimenting with moveable wooden character types in the 1430s.97 In France,documents from Avignon reveal that between 1444 and 1446 contracts were issued to ProcopiusWaldvogel to teach the art of “artificial writing.”98 Whether accurate or not, however, the mostwidely attributed inventor of the printing press in Europe is the Mainz goldsmith JohannGensfleisch zur Laden, or Gutenberg. The source of this judgement is a number of crypticdocuments surrounding a series of lawsuits that date to 1439 in Strasbourg. The documentsreveal that Gutenberg and his creditors were involved in a legal tussle over a number ofGutenberg’s inventions, one of which was a new art that involved the use of a press, some pieces(Stucke), some forms (Formen) made of lead, and things related to the action of the press (derzu dem Trucken gehoret).99As Dudley points out, Gutenberg’s invention was actually a synthesis of the punch thegoldsmiths used for striking inscriptions into metal, the wine-press (which had come to Germany90from the Romans) and the perfection of an ink that would adhere to metal type.’°° Althoughpaper had come to Europe from China through the Arabs, and although the Chinese and theKoreans had been employing a similar method of printing with moveable characters since the10th century, the evidence suggests that the development of the European printing press was anautonomous development.’01 The first printed works did not immediately change theappearance and form of medieval manuscripts; in fact, the early printers went to great lengthsto produce precise imitations. Febvre and Martin note that “The 42-line Bible for example wasprinted in a letter-type which faithfully reproduced the handwriting of the Rhenish missals.”°2Before 1500 the majority of printed works -- about 70 per cent -- were in Latin, with about 45per cent of them being religious in content. 103 What w novel about the new invention wasthe truly revolutionary impact it had on the quantities that could be produced and distributed andthe time it took to produce them.About 20 million books were printed before 1500 in Europe in a population at the timeof about 100 million.104 This number of books, produced in the first 50 years of printing,eclipsed the entire estimated product of the previous thousand years.’°5 Febvre and Martinestimate that 150 million to 200 million were then produced in the next hundred years.106 Inrelative terms, the output of printed material was not just a change in kind, but a true revolutionin communications. Of course the ability to reproduce large volumes of material with such easemeant that printed works were also significantly cheaper to produce than manuscripts. Forexample, in 1483 the Ripoli Press charged three forms per quinterno for setting up and printingFicino’ s translation of Plato’s Dialogues. Eisenstein estimates that a scribe might have charged91one form per quintino for duplicating the same work. The Ripoli Press printed 1,025 copies;the scribe would have turned out one.107Although the technology itself was revolutionary, what fuelled the spread of the printedword, as Anderson points out, was its convergence with the early printers’ commercial ethos andan available market across Europe hungry for printed material.’08 Following the initialactivities in Mainz of Gutenberg and his partners, Fust and Schoeffer, printing centres wereestablished in a number of cities throughout western Europe to exploit the new market.Menthelin printed a Bible in Strasbourg in 1459. By 1475, printing workshops had beenestablished throughout the Rhineland, and in Paris, Lyons, and Seville.’09 By 1480, printingcentres had sprouted through all of Western Europe, from Oxford and London to Krakow andBudapest, from Lubeck and Rostock to Napels and Cosenza -- in all, 110 towns stretching acrosswestern Europe.”° By 1500, the number of towns with printing centres had risen to 236.111By the 16th century, western Europe had entered a new communications environment at thecentre of which were cheap, mass-produced printed documents emanating from the many printingpresses stretched across the land.ConclusionIn this chapter, I have traced the development of communications technologies throughthe Middle Ages leading up to the invention of the printing press in the mid-lSth century.Contrary to more popular accounts, the invention of printing was an outgrowth of converging92social pressures for more efficient communications. While the Roman Catholic Church hadmaintained a monopoly over written communications up to the 12th century, from that pointonwards a gradual change in the communications environment began to occur, as evidenced bythe growth of secular literacy and the use and reproduction of written documents outside of theformal papal-monastic network. In this respect, the invention of printing actually represents theculmination of slowly accumulating social pressures. In conjunction with the broader social andeconomic conditions of the time, however, once printing began to spread through WesternEurope, it revolutionized the communications environment with significant consequences forsociety and politics. In the next two chapters, I examine the ways in which the emergence ofthis new communications environment played a part in the transformation of the medieval worldorder.Notes1 .See Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, pp. 422-423.2.See Ibid., pp. 266-276; See also Gerd Tellenbach, Church. State. and Christian Society at theTime of the Investiture Controversy, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1959); and Uta-RenateBlumenthal, The Investiture Controversy: Church and Monarchy from the Ninth to the TwelfthCentury, (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 1988).3.On the Crusades, see Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading,(London: The Athlone Press, 1986). For discussion of the Crusades in the context ofInternational Relations theory debates, see Rodney Bruce Hall, “The Medieval ‘State’ and theSocial Construction of Sovereign Identity.” (Paper presented at the International StudiesAssociation 36th Annual Convention, 2 1-25 February 1995, Chicago, USA).4.James Curran, “Communications, power and social order,” in Michael Gurevitch, TonyBennett, James Curran, and Janet Woollacott, (eds.) Culture. Society and the Media, (London:Routledge Press, 1982), p. 203.5.Ibid., p. 204.936.On the connection between physiological changes in the vocal tract that permit the spoken wordand the so-called “Great Leap Forward” in human evolution, see Jared Diamond, “The GreatLeap Forward,” Discover (1990), pp. 66-76.7.Ong, Oralitv and Literacy, p. 84.8.Goody, The Interface Between the Written and the Oral, p. 3.9.Ibid., p. 18.10.See Denise Schmandt-Besserat, “The Earliest Precursor of Writing,” Scientific American,(Vol. 283, No. 6, 1978), pp. 50-59; See also, Bruce Bower, “The Write Stuff: researchersdebate the origins and effects of literacy,” Science News, (March 6, 1993), pp. 152-154.11 .See especially, Goody, The Logic of Writing.12.Marc Drogin, Biblioclasm: The Mythical Origins, Magic Powers. and Perishability of theWritten Word, (Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1989), p. 11.13.See Harold Innis, “Media in Ancient Empires,” in David Crowley and Paul Heyer, (eds.)Communication in History: Technology. Culture, Society, [2nd ed.] (New York: Longmanns,1995).14.Gellner, Plough. Sword, and Book, p. 71.15.Goody, The Logic of Writing, pp. 16-17.16.Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 15-16.17.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 14. This belief was more the case during the earlyMiddle Ages, gradually becoming a contested site from the 12th century onwards with the spreadof lay literacy, and as evidenced by the debate between nominalists and realists of the time.Nominalists held that only particular physical items constitute reality, while realists believed thatuniversals have a reality which is prior to and apart from the physical. For a more thoroughtreatment of these issues, see Brian Stock, Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past.(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990); and Roy Harris and Talbot J. Taylor,(eds.) Landmarks in Linguistic Thought: The Western Tradition from Socrates to Saussure.(New York: Routledge Press, 1989), p. xv.18. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and everyfowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: andwhatsoever Adam called evry living creature, that was the name thereof. AndAdam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast ofthe field...(Genesis II, 19-20)94For discussion, see Heyer, Communications and History, p. 146-148; See also Cantor, whonotes how a common belief that the “road to knowledge lay through the origin of words” canbe found in the title of the influential Etymologies, written by the early seventh-century bishopof Seville, Isidore. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 83.19.Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, p. 33.20.Drogin, Biblioclasm, p. 33.21.Ibid., p. 38.22 .Ibid.23.Taken from M.T. Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307. [2ndEditionj (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1993).24.Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy, p. 9.25.See Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, pp. 3-36.26.See Innis, Empire and Communication, pp. 83-112; See also, Susan Raven, “The Road toEmpire,” Geographical Magazine, (June 1993), pp. 21-24.27.Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 120.28.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 64.29.For discussion, see Rosamond MeKitterick, The Carolingians and the Written Word,(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 167-168.30.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 146.31.See Innis, Empire and Communications, pp. 118-119.32.Giovanni Miccoli, “Monks,” in Jacques Le Goff (ed.) Medieval Callings [Translated by LydiaG. Cochrane] (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 43.33.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 153.34.See Innis, Empire and Communications, p. 85-112; and Raven, “Road to Empire”.35.See Leila Avrin, Scribes. Script and Books: The book arts from Antiquity to Renaissance,(Chicago: American Library Association, 1991), pp. 173-175.36.Ibid.9537.Innis, The Bias of Communication, p. 49.38.Avrin, Scribes, Script and Books, p. 210.39.McKitterick, The Carolingians and the Written Word, pp. 138-139.40.See Innis, Empire and Communications, p. 117.41.Innis, The Bias of Communications, p. 48.42.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 153.43.Miccoli, “Monks,” p. 68.44.Ibid. See also Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 114: “Thus in the library at Cluny a monkwho wanted to consult a manuscript by an ancient author had to scratch his ear with a finger inthe style of a dog scratching itself with a paw, ‘for the pagan is justly compared with thisanimal.” And on page 115: “Ancient thought only survived in the middle ages in a fragmentedform. It was pushed out of shape and humiliated by Christian thought.”45.Karl Schottenloher, Books and the Western World: A Cultural History. [Translated byWilliam D. Boyd and Irmgard H. Wolfe] (London: McFarland & Company, 1968), p. 31.46.Avrin, Scribes. Script and Books, p. 209.47.Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, p. 125; See also, McKitterick, The Carolingiansand the Written Word, pp. 136-157.48.Miccoli, “Monks,” p. 39.49.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 153.50. Georges, Duby, “The Diffusion of Cultural Patterns in Feudal Society,” Past and Present 39(April 1968), p. 4.51.Curran, “Communications, power and social order,” p. 202.52.See especially, Sophia Menache, The Vox Dei: Communication in the Middle Ages, (NewYork: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 5 1-78.53.See Brian Stock, The Implications of Literacy: Written Languages and Models ofInterpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1983), pp. 35, 60-61.54.Geoffrey Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy. (London: Thames and Hudson, 1968), p. 40.55.Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, p. 318.9656.Bloch, Feudal Society, p. 80.57.Miccoli, “Monks,” p. 57.58.Ibid., p. 58.59.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 154.60.Bloch, Feudal Society, p. 80.61 .Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy, p. 100.62.Ibid., p. 103.63.Jacques Le Goff, “Introduction,” in Le Goff, (ed.) Medieval Callings, p. 5.64.Michael Camille, “Seeing and Reading: Some Visual Implications of Medieval Literacy andIlliteracy,” Art History (Vol.8, No. 1, March 1985), p. 26.65. Camille, “Seeing and Reading,” p. 27.66.Le Goff, The Medieval Imagination, p. 6.67.Le Goff, “Introduction,” p. 32.68.Curran, “Communications, Power and Social Order,” p. 207.69.See especially, Jacques Le Goff, The Medieval Imagination. Interestingly, there are affinitiesbetween the imagined realm of the medieval mentality and the “virtual realities” of an emergingpostmodern consciousness today. See, for discussion, Ronald J. Deibert, “Virtual Realities: neomedievalism as therapeutic redescription,” (Paper presented at the International StudiesAssociation annual conference, Chicago, 1995).70.See Richard Matthew, “Justice, Order and Change in World Politics,” (Paper Prepared forthe ISA Annual Convention, March 28-April 1, 1994, Washington, DC).71 .See Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, p. 118.72.Curran, “Communications, Power and Social Order,” p. 206.73 .Ibid.74.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 23.75.Leonard M. Dudley, The Word and the Sword: How Technologies of Information andViolence have Shaped our World, (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1991), pp. 146-147.9776.As Menache relates: “The development of the Church in the Central Middle Ages embodiesan essential paradox: the ecclesiastical order reached its maximal influence at a time whenWestern society gradually evolved from corporate frameworks into more developedsocioeconomic systems which by their very nature opposed the Church’s monopoly.” Menache,The Vox Dei, p. 78.77.Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy, p. 122.78.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, pp. 314-315.79.Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy, p. 128.80.Ibid.81 .Ibid., p. 154; See also Menache, The Vox Dei, pp.213-273.82.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, pp. 376-377; See also Menache, The Vox Dei,pp. 216-225.83. Marcel Thomas, “Manuscripts,” in Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of theBook: the Impact of Printing 1450-1800. [Translated by David Gerard, Edited by GeoffreyNowell-Smith and David Wootten] (London: NLB, 1976), p. 15.84.Ibid., p. 19; For an overview of the growth of universities, see Alan B. Cobban, [hMedieval Universities, their development and organization, (London: Methuen Books, 1975).85.Ibid., pp. 19-22.86.Ibid., p. 22.87.Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, pp. 308-318, 395, 398-399.88.See Robert Dodgshon, The European Past: Social Evolution and Spatial Order, (London:Macmillan Press), p. 145; and Clanchy, From Memory to the Written Word, pp. 42-43.89.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 26.90.Ibid., p. 29.91.Avrin, Scribes, Script and Books, p. 285.92.Ibid., p. 287.93.Ibid., p. 292.94.See Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, pp. 29-39.9895.Ibid., pp. 39-40.96.Schottenloher, Books and the Western World, p. 50.97.See Dudley, The Word and the Sword, p. 150.98.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 52.99.Ibid., pp. 51-53.100.Dudley, The Word and the Sword, P. 150.101.See Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, pp. 71-76.102.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 77.103.Ibid., p. 249.104 .Ibid., pp. 248-249.105.Stephen Saxby, The Age of Information: The past development and future significance ofcomputing and communications. (London: Macmillan Press, 1990), p. 45.106.Ibid., p. 262.107.This comparison is recounted by Eisenstein in The Printing Press, p. 46.108.Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 37-38.109.Ibid., p. 167.110.Ibid., pp. 167-185.111 .Luke, Pedagogy. Printing, and Protestantism, p. 58.99Chapter Three: Print and the Medieval to Modern World Order Transformation:Distributional ChangesIntroductionChanges in the mode of communication have far-reaching, fundamental implications forthe social and political infrastructure of an era and for the trajectory of social evolution. Inchapter one, I outlined two conceptually-distinct effects that arise from a change in the mode ofcommunication: distributional changes and changes to social epistemology. In this chapter, Iconcentrate only on the former.Distributional changes are changes in the relative power of social forces as a consequenceof the change in the mode of communication. Because each successive mode of communicationtransmits and stores information in unique ways, social forces whose interests coincide with thenew communications environment will be favoured while those whose interests do not will bedisadvantaged. Social forces survive differentially, in other words, according to their “fitness”or match with the new media environment-- a process that is both open-ended and contingent.Thus, medium theory does not offer an explanation of the genesis of particular social forces, norwhy they were animated by particular interests as opposed to others, but rather why theyflourished or declined at a particular historical juncture.Distributional changes work in two directions-- undercutting some social forces whileadvancing the interests of others. In this chapter I examine the way distributional changes100associated with the development of printing played a part in the medieval-to-modern world ordertransformation in Europe. I begin by examining the way the change in the mode ofcommunication helped to dissolve the architecture of political authority in the late Middle Ages.Specifically, I explore the way two social forces, the Protestant Reformation and scientifichumanism, were favoured by the new media environment to the disadvantage of the RomanCatholic Church. I then examine the way transformations in socio-economic relations that wereencouraged by the change in the mode of communication helped to undermine the basis of feudalsocial relations and paved the way for modern contractual socio-economic relations among anincreasingly important segment of the late medieval population: the urban bourgeoisie. Thisparticular distributional change had what we might call a “levelling” effect on patterns of politicaland economic obligation, at least in urban areas, cutting through the entangled webs of personalloyalties characteristic of the feudal era and opening up the possibility for common rule from asingle centre. Finally, I turn to the way the change in the mode of communication fuelled therise of modern state bureaucracies and centralized political authority throughout western Europe.As many have pointed out, the converging interests of the latter two social forces -- the urbanbourgeoisie and centralizing state monarchies -- were crucial in moulding the architecture ofmodern world order in Europe.101The new media environment and the dissolution of the old ordera. The Protestant ReformationAs outlined at the end of the previous chapter, by the 14th and 15th centuries strongsocial forces were emerging with novel agendas and interests that were pushing at the marginsof the Church’s hegemony over knowledge reproduction. Some of these social forces can becharacterized as reactionary movements within the Church itself. In this category, we wouldinclude the various religious “heresies” that periodically and spontaneously surfaced throughoutwestern Europe beginning in the 12th century. Although their specific goals and ideologiesvaried considerably, these heretical movements arose during the High Middle Ages mostly inreaction to the Church hierarchy, which, as pointed out in the previous chapter, was assuminga more legalistic and secular face distanced from the popular devotion that marked its appealduring its embryonic days as a missionary sect.’ The top-heavy administrative organs of thePapal government appeared less “other-worldly” and more corrupt, especially as successive popesengaged in or succumbed to power-political machinations -- an image doubly reinforced byevents such as the Great Schism.2 This decline in Church popularity is reflected in the waymany Christians saw the “Black Death” plague that swept through western Europe in the 14thcentury as a symbol of God’s dissatisfaction with the corruption of the Church.3Prior to the emergence of print, the Church had been relatively successful in squelching102and containing heresies primarily “because it always had better internal lines of communicationthan its challengers.”4 Those that were not stamped out by violence, or compelle intrare, weremore than likely to be coopted by a form of special privilege or to be ignored altogether, asvarious heresies flickered and then faded without means of mass communication.5 Febvre andMartin wonder “what might have happened if some of the earlier heresies (the Hussite, forexample) had the power of the press at their disposal -- power that Luther and Calvin used withgreat skill, first in the attack on Rome and then in the diffusion of their new doctrines.”6 TheInquisition, established in the 13th century, was a reflection of both the growing hereticalelements within society and the Church’s more stringent reprisals against them.7 It remainedan effective countermeasure so long as the doctrines flowing from heretical movements could behalted by taking measures against the persons upon whom the widespread transmission of suchdoctrines depended. With the rapid dissemination and publication afforded by print, however,heretical movements had a much better chance of spreading their message beyond the localityin which they emerged, making it much more difficult for the Church to take effectivecountermeasures.To illustrate the way technological innovations have unintended consequences, and howfathoming such consequences are difficult for those living through them, it is interesting to notethat the Church was initially enthusiastic about the printing press, making thorough use of it, forexample, in its anti-Turkish crusade.8 One particular cardinal, Nicholas of Cusa, referred to theprinting press as a “divine art” because of the way that the technology would enable poor priestswho would otherwise be unable to afford Bibles to have access to cheaper, mass produced103versions.9 And it is somewhat ironic that the first dated printed product from Gutenberg’sworkshop was an indulgence-- the very emblem of Church corruption in the eyes of theProtestant Reformation.’° In fact, the demand for printed books and liturgies among Catholicchurchmen drove the initial establishment of printing presses throughout Europe in the latter halfof the 15th century. Some of the largest monasteries, like Cluny and Citeaux at Dijon, invitedprinters from Germany to set up printing workshops and to teach monks the art of printing.”In one of the first books printed by the Brothers of the Common Life in Rostock there appearedthe dedication that printing was the “handmaid of the Church.”2 Only hindsight could tellthem how wrong they were.It is well known among historians and laypersons alike that the printing press was closelyintertwined with the Protestant Reformation. What is often confused is the specific causalrelationship between the two, with technological determinists often attributing to the printingpress the genesis of the Protestant Reformation itself.’3 Clearly the fact that there were manyother similar outbreaks of heresies prior to print mitigates any simplistic one-to-one connection.And certainly the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation cannot be explained without referenceto the deteriorating economic and social conditions of central and northern Europe which createdan oppressive and intolerable environment for many.’4 As Luke describes, “Before Lutherbecame a figure of public and political interest in 1517, German burghers and peasants, artisansand merchants, and many humanist academics shared a feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction withexisting social, economic, and political-religious conditions, and were ready for a change towardswhat for them promised to be a more just and Christian society.”5 Nonetheless, what could104be said with confidence is that printing had a revolutionary effect on the extent to which oneparticular heresy could spread widely and rapidly with devastating consequences for the Church’scontainment strategies. In other words, the properties of the printing environment “favoured”the interests of the Protestant Reformation to the disadvantage of the Papal hierarchy.What was most revolutionary about printing was the way it afforded an opportunity forone person to reach a mass audience in an unprecedented short period of time. In 1517, theGerman theologian Martin Luther publicized 95 theses in Latin criticizing a variety of Churchpractices, centring mostly on the rise in tithes, indulgences, and benefices. As Dudley notes:“A century earlier, the issue might have smoldered for years before breaking into flame. Eventhen, its effects would have been purely local, as in the case of the followers of John Huss whoserevolt (14 19-1436) had been confined to Bohemia.”16 Within 15 days Luther’s theses had beentranslated into German, summarized, and distributed to every part of the country.’7 DuringLuther’s life, five times as many works authored by Luther alone were published than by all theCatholic controversialists put together.’8 Martin Luther alone was responsible for 20 percentof the approximately 10,000 pamphlet editions issued from presses in German-speaking territoriesbetween 1500 and 1530.’ Initially, the volume increased dramatically, with Luther’s publishedoutput rising from 87 printings in 1518 to a high of 390 printings in 1523.20 As Anderson putit, “In effect, Luther became the first best-selling author so known.”2’ And of course the risein output was not restricted to that emanating from Luther alone; from 1517-1518-- the firstyear of the Reformation-- there was a 530 percent increase in the production of pamphlets issuedfrom German speaking presses.22105Printing permitted the mass production of small, cheap pamphlets which complementedthe Reformer’s strategic interest both in rapid dissemination of propaganda, in the form of cheapplacards and posters, and the concealment of heretical printed works from authorities by bothproducers and consumers. Pamphlets were produced in quarto format -- that is, made up ofsheets folded twice to make four leaves or eight pages -- and without a hard cover, and werereferred to by the German term Flugschriften, or “flying writings.”23 Edwards describes howthe pamphlets were “easily transported by itinerant peddlers, hawked on Street corners and intaverns, advertised with jingles and intriguing title pages, and swiftly hidden in a pack or underclothing when the authorities made an appearance.”24 Edwards goes on to explain how thepamphlets were “ideal for circulating a subversive message right under the noses of theopponents of reform.”25 As the pamphlets did not require a large investment in eithermanpower or material as did large manuscripts, they were inexpensive to produce and could beturned out quickly to respond immediately to the day-to-day battles of the ongoing religiouspolemics.26 Although precise estimates are difficult to determine, historian Hans-JoachimKohier figures that the average flugschnften cost about as much as a hen, or a kilogram of beef -- certainly not insignificant, but well within the reach of the pamphlet’s intended audience, the“common man,” and much less expensive than the cost of a well-crafted parchmentmanuscript.27To reach a wider, mass audience the pamphlets and other publications were printed in thevernacular-- the form itself a direct challenge to the Church hierarchy whose power rested onperforming an intermediary function between the vernacular and sacred Latin scripts. As106Edwards points out, printing not only helped spread Luther’s message, it “embodied” it in itsvery form by presenting challenges to doctrine in the vernacular press.28 Luther’s explicit aimwas to put a Bible in every household -- an aim that was functionally complemented by thestandardization and mass production afforded by moveable type. One printer alone, Hans Luift,issued 100,000 copies of the Bible within forty years between 1534 and 1574.29 Febvre andMartin estimate that about one million German Bibles were printed before mid-century.3° Inso doing, printing helped to undermine the legitimacy of centralized knowledge reproduction byproviding the means “by which each person could become his or her own theologian.”3’ JohnHobbes wrote disapprovingly how “every man, nay, every boy and wench that could readEnglish thought they spoke with God Almighty, and understood what He said.”32Fuelled by the new means of communication, the Protestant Reformation reached a levelof mass support unprecedented among prior heresies in Europe during the Middle Ages. A“colossal religious propaganda war” ensued, in Anderson’s words, that would soon envelop thewhole of Europe.33 At the heart of this war were the cheap, mass-produced pamphletsemanating from the many printing presses that sprouted throughout Europe in response to themarket created by the religious upheaval. The pamphleteers carefully employed a combinationof text and illustration to reach as wide an audience as possible. Devastating, “blasphemous”caricatures invariably featuring perverse and disfigured representations of eminent Churchofficials rolled off the printing press in droves -- an often neglected historical detail of the 16thcentury religious propaganda wars made possible by the printing press.34 And although literacywas still relatively low among most of the lower classes, the spread of the printed word worked107in tandem with traditional means of oral communications in what Kohler calls a “two-step”communications process, with evangelical preachers spreading by word of mouth polemicalworks freshly issued and/or smuggled in from the many printing houses that served as “nervecentres.”35 We should not underestimate, therefore, the extent to which the illiterate could haveaccess to the printed word through those that could read. So while the Reformation was verymuch an oral process, it was the mass distribution of printed material that fuelled the process atthe crucial elite level.36 Moreover, Protestantism deliberately inculcated in its followers theimportance of literacy and Bible reading, and as a consequence, literacy rates grew markedlyhigher over time in Protestant versus Catholic regions.37While printing may have “favoured” the strategic interests of Protestantism, itdisadvantaged those of the Roman Catholic Church. Given its exploitation of the printing press,Protestantism was able to take the early offensive in the polemical struggles -- Rome often beingforced to take the somewhat desperate and futile position of opposing and containing print in thename of doctrine. Anderson affirms that the reformers were “always fundamentally on theoffensive, precisely because [they] knew how to make use of the expanding vernacular print-market being created by capitalism, while the Counter-Reformation defended the citadel ofLatin.”38 Thus it was Rome which felt the need to formulate the Index Librorum Prohibitorumof banned printed material.39 As Eisenstein notes:Catholic policies framed at Trent were aimed at holding these new functions incheck. By rejecting vernacular versions of the Bible, by stressing lay obedienceand imposing restrictions on lay reading, by developing new machinery such asthe Index and Imprimatur to channel the flow of literature along narrowly108prescribed lines, the post-Tridentine papacy proved to be anything butaccommodating. It assumed an unyielding posture that grew ever more rigid overthe course of time.4°The Index, continuously updated throughout the 16th century and beyond, had the ironiceffect of spurring a market for the printed material contained therein by making it appear taboo,and thus even more attractive.4’ Even prior to the Protestant Reformation the Church hadissued decrees forbidding the printing of books unauthorized by the Papal hierarchy. In 1515Pope Leo X issued an edict to the Holy Roman Empire “that no license should be given for theprinting of a book until it had been examined and approved by an authorized representative ofthe Church.”42 By restricting the publication of unauthorized printed material in this way,however, the Church’s strictures created a large black-market book trade fed by printing presseshoused in non-Catholic regions.43 It also resulted in strong pressures from Catholic printerswho were placed at a severe disadvantage by not being able to enter into the newly emergingmarket for printed material -- especially the material forbidden by the Church. For example,in 1524 the printers of Leipzig petitioned their Catholic duke that they were in danger of losing“house, home, and all their livelihood” because they were not allowed to “print or sell anythingnew that is made in Wittenberg or elsewhere. For that which one would gladly sell and forwhich there is demand,” they said, referring to the Protestant literature, “they are not allowedto have or sell. But what they have in abundance,” referring to Catholic literature, “is desiredby no one and cannot be given away.”44 In short, the Church’s strategic interests weredisadvantaged by the newly emerging communications environment.109The way in which these religious divisions spilled over into the secular parts of theChristian Commonwealth is well-known. Their impact on the architecture of medieval worldorder -- in particular, the transnational hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church -- wasdevastating. Soon much of Europe was divided into competing religious territories-- a chasmthat initially corresponded with pro- and anti-print factions. As Anderson explains, “nothinggives a better sense of this siege mentality than Francois I’s panicked 1535 ban on the printingof any books in his realm-- on pain of death by hanging.”45 The Protestant Reformation rippedinto the increasingly tenuous cosmological bind that held Christendom together under a singlesociety. It is unlikely that the Reformation would have been as profoundly consequential in thisregard had it not been for the facilitating role played by printing described above. Printinghelped to displace “the mediating and intercessionary role of the clergy, and even of the Churchitself, by providing a new channel of communication linking Christians to their God.”46 Inconjunction with individualistic push of Protestant ideology, printing weakened the intermediaryfunction that had buttressed the privileged social position assumed by the clergy. WhileProtestantism presented a frontal assault on the religious core of the official Church cosmology,a second discernable social force was gradually undercutting it from a more holistic perspective.b. Scientific humanismAs Anderson and others point out, the early printers represented one of the firstmanifestations in Europe of groups of commercial entrepreneurs dedicated to making a profit.47Consequently, they were primarily concerned with finding markets for their books and printed110materials. Once the market for religious pamphlets became saturated, booksellers needed to findalternative outlets for their products. One particular emerging social group yearning for mass-produced printed material at the time was the scientific humanist movement. Over the courseof the first century of printing, a shift occurred in the content from primarily Latin-basedreligious themes to scientific humanist works written in vernacular languages.48 Like theexpansion of Protestantism, the growth of scientific humanism helped to undermine the authorityof the Roman Catholic Church by directly challenging the cosmology upon which its authorityrested. And also like Protestant groups, social forces in favour of scientific humanism flourishedin the newly emerging communications environment.Although modernist histories of science have tended to portray the emergence of the so-called “Scientific Revolution” as a sharp historical juncture when the fetters of religious falseconsciousness were thrown aside for the wisdom of pure empiricism by a few path-breakingindividuals, the roots of scientific humanism as a social force can actually be traced back intothe late Middle Ages.49 In Italy and in northern Europe, the growth of universities, coupledwith a more hospitable urban setting, furnished the grounds for a stimulating intellectualenvironment characterized by intense debates surrounding the rediscovery of classical Greek andRoman texts.5° At the same time, latent in European society was a growing dissatisfaction withthe prevailing cosmology for more practical, secular reasons. The Ptolemaic, earth-centredpicture of the universe, supported by official Church doctrine, no longer seemed adequate, forexample, to the imperatives of ocean navigation, which was assuming a more important placeas commerce and trade expanded. Nor could it be easily squared with observations of the111heavens made with the aid of new technical discoveries -- foremost among them the telescope -- that furthered scepticism about its core assumptions.51 Prior to printing, those beliefs thatcontradicted the official Church cosmology could be contained with relative success through thesame basic mechanisms, such as the Inquisition, that held other religious heresies in check.After printing, however, it became much more difficult for the Church to halt the flow of thenew science, especially since scientific humanism (like Protestantism) had a strategic interest inthe widespread dissemination of knowledge and information -- an interest that overlapped withthat of the new printing industry.The complementary relationship between printing and scientific humanism can actuallybe traced back to the establishment of universities in the High Middle Ages. As outlined in theprevious chapter, the swelling numbers of students and professors in the High to late MiddleAges created a market for books that spurred on the development of “in-house” universitymanuscript copying centres that were not formally tied to the monastic network. This marketmight have remained limited, however, were it not for the introduction of a new science --animated mostly by rediscovered Aristotelian works -- that gradually re-focused intellectualenergy on “observation” and critical comparison of observations as opposed to pure reflectionon traditional wisdom that characterized the predominant neoplatonism of the day.52 Althoughthe new “empiricists” propagated the myth that they were “turning away” from the dustyparchment books of the Church Fathers to “pure” examinations of the “Book of Nature,” weshould cautiously avoid treating the myth, as Eisenstein suggests, as anything more than ametaphor for the break from religious ties.53 In fact, the printing press significantly fuelled the112sudden wave of scientific innovation that characterized the 16th and 17th centuries by facilitatingthe rapid dissemination and exchange of knowledge and ideas. Contrary to myths, the newscience was critically dependent on the printed word.While it is true that the entire printed output contained as much chaff as wheat (earlymodern counterparts to the “trash” television of today) the sheer volume of printed material thatcould be accessed by a single individual, or groups working cooperatively on a single project,was truly revolutionary, especially as it converged with the interests of the new scientificcuriosity. Eisenstein argues that while:the duplication in print of extant scribal maps and ancient geographical treatises,even while seeming to provide evidence of ‘backsliding, ‘also provided a basis forunprecedented advance. . . .Before the outlines of a comprehensive and uniformworldpicture could emerge, incongruous images had to be duplicated in sufficientquantities to be brought into contact, compared, and contrasted.54Thus it was not uncommon to find, as Febvre and Martin point out, many examples of printedmaterial that furthered medieval, Ptolemaic theories alongside the new sciences.55 But what wasrevolutionary was the conjunction of a new intellectual mind-set alongside the sudden anddramatic increase in the sheer volume of circulating works. Contradictions became more difficultto reconcile once Arabists were set alongside Galenists or Aristotelians against Ptolemaists in asingle study.56Consider, in this respect, the way innovations new to print -- such as cross-referencing113and indexing-- functionally complemented an intellectual interest in the systematic comparisonand critical evaluation of knowledge that characterized the new science.57 Printingcomplemented the esprit de systeme of the age -- the desire to catalogue and organize every topicinto a consistent order-- by permitting the use of new devices like pagination, section breaks,running headers, title pages, index cards, standardized copies and so forth, that would bevirtually impossible to undertake without mechanized reproduction.58More subtle forms of “fitness” can be found as well. Consider the way in which the newsciences’ stress on detached analytical, “impersonal” modes of reflection and reasoning benefitedby the move away from the oral transmission of ideas, to individualized study of standardizedtexts.59 Or consider the way the idea of progress and cumulation of knowledge was encouragedby the duplicative powers of printing, by the sudden increase in the volume of circulatedmaterial, and by the way cross-referencing and indexing could facilitate the “building” andsynthesizing of existing theories. Multiple reprints and numbered editions made possible aprocess of critical feedback whereby errors and omissions in an original text could be identifiedand corrected in subsequent editions.6° By contrast, manuscript deterioration was a constantproblem in medieval Europe such that enormous energy was channelled into the preservation andre-copying of important texts while countless others were allowed to drift into oblivion. Lackof standardization, localized chronologies, imprecise cataloguing, and oral transmissions can allbe seen as further constraints on the idea of progress and cumulation of knowledge. Withprinting, however, preservation became much less of a concern since multiple copies could bemade at diminishing costs. The idea that civilization was progressing away from error through114the winnowing away of false or distorted theories “fits” a communications environment whereprinted material (if not “knowledge” per Se) was visibly and quite literally accumulating.6’Like the Reformation, the secularization of knowledge and learning that ensued workedagainst Rome’s controlled interpretation of the order of things, gradually overturning themedieval cosmology upon which Papal authority derived its legitimacy. The newcommunications environment “favoured” the interests of these two social forces, whiledisadvantaging the papal-monastic information network. As shown in the previous chapter, thisnetwork was critical in maintaining the Church’s transnational hegemony over much of westernEurope and thus of the ideological foundation of the medieval world order. Working in tandemwith the ideas and interests of the Protestant Reformation and scientific humanism, printinghelped to undercut the intermediary and privileged function of the clergy in medieval society,opening up the reproduction of knowledge to commercial, secular printers whose main concernwas not the dissemination of a particular religious cosmology, but rather the accumulation ofprofit. As Curran attests:The development ofa lay scribal andprint culture also undermined the ideologicalascendancy of the Church. The growth of commercial scriptoria and subsequentlycommercial printing enterprises made it more difficult for the ecclesiasticalauthorities, who had previously directly controlled the means of bookproduction,to exercise effective censorship. The failure of the Church to maintain itsdomination over centres of learning in the later middle ages also weakened itsgrip on the content of elite culture.62While the Roman Catholic Church worked frantically to control the new mode of communicationthrough censorship and patronage, it was unable to stem the tide of unforseen consequences that115were ushered in with the introduction of printing-- a technology it had itself initially applauded.With the development of printing, the Church’s dominant place in medieval world ordercollapsed. The remainder of this chapter examines the way the new mode of communicationfacilitated the rise of social forces that helped constitute the modern world order.The new media environment and the constitution of the new orderTwo social forces whose interests converged were critical in the constitution of themodern world order in Europe. One was the emergence of an urban bourgeoisie committed tocommercial exchange, contractual socio-economic relations, and capitalist entrepreneurship. Theemergence of this particular social force had what we might call a “levelling effect” on thetangled particularisms of feudal social relations, opening up the possibility of common rule froma single centre. The mere possibility might have remained undeveloped were it not for the valuesthat animated this new class of entrepreneurs, who shared a collective interest in some form ofcentralized rule to satisfy the need for both security and standardization. Coincidentally, theirinterests were met by centralizing state monarchs, who were willing to provide rationalized,bureaucratic administration of internal affairs in exchange for financing from the urbanbourgeoisie to fight external wars. In this way, centralized state bureaucracies-- a primaryfeature of modern world order -- began to emerge from the cross-cutting, personalized forms ofnon-territorial rule characteristic of the feudal era. My purpose in the remainder of this chapteris not to provide another historical narrative of this process; the literature on the rise of themodern state in Europe is well-developed. Rather, it is to show the way the change in the116communications environment fuelled the interests of these two social forces -- and thus thetransformation of world order-- at this particular historical juncture.a. From the oath to the contractSocio-economic relations during the High to late Middle Ages were characterized byfeudalism -- that is, a hierarchy of personalized, cross-cutting relationships among vassals andlords.63 This form of personalized rule evolved out of ancient Germanic practices in which theoath of allegiance played a central role in maintaining trust and discipline among warriors.64The oath entailed an act of homage whereby one freeman would submit allegiance to anotherthrough the ceremonial placing of joined hands between those of the lord, which resulted in abond of mutual obligation. The ceremony was highly personal, as evidenced by the bodilygestures of submission often involving a kiss as well as the verbal oath and the joined hands,signalling the vassal’s allegiance to the lord “by mouth and hands.”65 Feudalism became thedominant mode of organizing socio-economic relations following the decline of the Carolingianmonarchy in the 9th and 10th centuries, and declined dramatically around the 16th century. Itwas most fully developed in France and Germany, and least developed in Italy where ancientRoman traditions persisted and city-life played a more prominent role in society.66Although the oath of allegiance played an important symbolic role in affirming the socialbonds between vassal and lord, it was more than just a symbolic gesture insofar as literacy wasindeed rare during the High Middle Ages and social relations were in fact primarily characterized117by oral communications.67 As Le Goff notes, “the feudal system was a world of gesture andnot of the written word.”68 The pervasiveness of the spoken word in both a practical and ametaphoric sense over all of feudal society is perhaps best illustrated, as Clanchy suggests, bythe evolution of legal procedure.69 It is evidenced by the fact that prior to the 13th centuryparties were given notice to appear in law courts not by a writ, but by an oral summons whichwas publicly proclaimed by criatores or “criers.” Prior to the widespread use of written andprinted documents, a great deal of importance was placed on personal, oral testimony as opposedto written documents, which were still considered untrustworthy. Consequently, a person wentbefore the court to have a “hearing.” One unfortunate by-product was that the deaf and dumbappear to have had no legal rights in 13th century England.7° Wills did not rely on writtendocuments but rather persons witnessing the testator making his bequests “with his own mouth”;they “saw, were present, and heard” the transaction.71 And of course what prevailed in legalprocedures was a mere reflection of society at large. For example, business was conducted, evenamong nascent commercial entrepreneurs, by word of mouth, if not solely because of traditionand habit, then certainly because “documents were bound to be relatively rare until printing madetheir automatic reproduction possible.”72 With illiteracy the norm, and written documentationrare, socio-economic communications in the feudal era were overwhelmingly oral in nature.The highly personalized, oral form of rule that constituted feudal society resulted in acomplex web of cross-cutting and overlapping lord-vassal mutual obligations that reached acrossthe territory of Europe. If we were to assume the perspective of an aspiring capitalist, the feudalenvironment would appear to be extremely constraining. Spruyt describes how:118The legal climate was unfavourable for trade given the underdevelopment ofwritten codes, the importance of local customaly proceedings, the lack ofinstrumentally rational procedures, and the crosscutting nature ofjurisdictions.Economically, commerce sufferedfrom great variation in coinage and in weightsand measures and a lack of clearly defined property rights. Transaction costswere high.Since money as we know of it today was virtually non-existent, feudal financial obligationsconsisted mostly of barter, or in-kind transfers.74 Legal affairs were characterized by what hasbeen called “banal justice,” with each locality assuming its own legal particularities -- a situationencouraged by the lack of written laws prior to the 13th century in most of Europe with theexception of parts of southern France and Italy.75 Secular and ecclesiastical lords used theirown weights and measures, with many local lords minting their own coins-- in France aionethere were as many as 300 minters.76 All of this particularism was closely bound up with thepersonalized, oral form of rule inherent in feudalism, which encouraged variation and localismin socio-economic and legal affairs up until the 13th century-- a point that will be taken up againin the following section dealing with nascent state bureaucracies.Of course there were few capitalists in the High Middle Ages who would find anyproblem with what we now consider to be a high degree of “transaction costs.” But beginningin the 12th century, a profound economic transformation took hold resulting in what Eric Jonescalls “the European Miracle.”77 From a multiplicity of causes -- improvements in agriculturaltechniques, climate and demographic changes, the growth of international trade -- economicproductivity rose and grew more complex.78 As Ruggie explains, “economic relations becameincreasingly monetized, and developments in ‘invisibles,’ including the great fairs, shipping,119insurance, and financial services, further lubricated commerce and helped to create a European-wide market.”79 Out of this dynamic economic interaction many new towns re-emerged thathad been dormant since Roman times. And within these towns a new group began to coalesceinto a coherent social force: the burghers or town dwellers, or what would later be known as the“urban bourgeoisie.” Spruyt astutely points out how these new townspeople shared little commoninterests with the clergy and feudal lords who thrived on the old institutions:Thus, coupled with the rise of the towns, a new set of interests and ideologicalperspectives emerged with a new set of demands. The feudal order -- based oncrosscuttingjun sdictions and on ill-definedproperty rights andjudicialprocedures-- did not fit the burghers mercantile pursuits. Market exchange and traderequired abstract contractual obligations with money as a medium.8°While Marxists have tended to reduce the emergence of this new urban class solely to theimperatives of the change in the mode of production, as Jones, Ruggie, Spruyt and others pointout, the rise of the town dwellers and a commercial entrepreneurial spirit had a multiplicity ofcauses that cannot be reduced to a single overarching variable. Here, I will not make anyattempt to replace the Marxist’s master key with one derived from the mode of communication.What I will maintain is that the interests of this new class of urban commercial entrepreneursflourished in the new communications environment, first with the growth of literacy and the useof written records, and then more dramatically and forcefully with the development of printing.Although Anderson is correct to point out that capitalism set the preconditions for the widespreaddissemination of printed material, the relationship between the two is not so easy to disentangleas each, in turn, affected the development of the other.8’ For the rise of capitalism wasembedded in, and closely intertwined with, a corresponding transformation in the western120European mode of communication. In other words, the shift from an oral to a print culture wasalso a shift from the oath to the contract, with all of the consequences for socio-economicorganization that ensued. The impersonal bonds of a modern interdependent economy -- organic,as opposed to mechanical, solidarity in Durkheim’ s terms -- could not be sustained on such a vastlevel without a high degree of literacy and the permanency and reproducability of printeddocuments.82 While nascent capitalist entrepreneurs may have found the oral-manuscript cultureof the late Middle Ages to be highly constraining, they thrived in the more hospitable printingenvironment.At the most fundamental level, printing complemented the widespread use of what mightbe called social abstractions -- bills of sale, deeds, court records, licenses, contracts,constitutions, decrees-- that are the essence of modern, contractarian societies. These socialabstractions could only emerge, as Stock and Clanchy point out, with a rise in general literacyand a corresponding dependence on written documentation over strictly oral communications --a process that began, as pointed out in the previous chapter, in the High Middle Ages but wasaccelerated with the mass reproducability of printing.83 Printing helped circulate in its manyforms a standardized medium of exchange essential for the servicing of a complex division oflabour within the newly-emerging urban-commercial centres of western Europe. Consider, inthis respect, the widespread use of printed paper currency as opposed to metal coins or othertokens in facilitating a standardized medium of economic exchange. Or consider the dependenceof the entrepreneur and the financier on the newspaper, which was an invention new to printing.McKusker and Gravesteijn note that “merchants and bankers in the fifteenth and sixteenth, in121their continuing quest for better ways to speed the flow of business news, turned for help to themost recent innovation in information technology, the printing press.”84 Thus what might beconsidered the first forerunner of the newspaper was a published exchange rate printed at theLyon exchange fairs beginning in the late 15th century, in which the “conto” or fixed exchangerate was circulated in print for those attending the fair.85 The Amsterdam Commodity PriceCurrent (Cours der Koopmanschappen tot Amsterdam) was published intermittently as early as1585, and weekly beginning in 1609.86 Other commercial and financial newspapers sproutedthroughout Europe in the 17th century, including in Augsburg (1592), Bologna (1628), Bolzano(1631), Bordeaux (1634), Danzig (1608), Florence (1598), Genoa (1619), Lille (1639), Lisbon(1610), London (1608), Lyons (1627), Naples (1627), Piacenza (1614), and Verona (1631).These newspapers served an essential function in providing a standardized publication for theexchange of commercial information. Their presence was both an indication of, and a significantfactor in, the rapid growth of urban commercial activity in the 17th century.At a more practical level, both written and printed materials, and the growth of literacythat naturally accompanied them, were indispensable tools in the day-to-day routines of the urbanbourgeoisie. Indeed, standard accountancy practices and record-keeping, such as double-entrybookkeeping, are inconceivable in a purely oral environment. While double-entry bookkeepingemerged in Italy prior to the invention of printing, it was a product of a highly literate-urbanpopulace and spread rather quickly throughout European urban centres once printing and literacytook root elsewhere.88 Nor should it be surprising that more ephemeral qualities associated withthe capitalist spirit, such as a meticulous rationalism and an abstract cognitive orientation,122flourished in precisely those areas where printing and literacy initially spread the fastest.89 Asa number of theorists have argued, both writing and printing encourage an abstract, rationalcognitive orientation by arresting the flow of oral conversation, permitting the comparison andjuxtaposition of words and documents, and detaching the content of communications from place,time and personality.90 Thus in those areas where we find a high rate of literacy and apenetration of printed material, we also find the flourishing of a highly-developed commercialethos. Perhaps the best example comes from the United Provinces of the Netherlands, whereliteracy was high and printing was enthusiastically exploited and encouraged by the Protestantstate that was incorporated there in the 16th century. According to Dudley, it is no coincidencethat many of the defining features of capitalism -- such as the stock exchange and themultinational corporation-- were originally developed in the Netherlands, a region that was inmany ways at the forefront of the change in the mode of communication. According to Dudley:The result for Dutch society [of exploiting print and literacy to their fullest] wasa deeper penetration of market institutions than had existed in previouscommunities. The examples of the Amsterdam Exchange Bank and the Bourseillustrate this point. The great popularity that these institutions enjoyedfrom themoment they were found could be possible only in a literate society familiar withthe notion that a written document could be just as valuable as gold or silvercoins.91In sum, while the emergence of an urban bourgeois class in early modern Europe was theproduct of a multiplicity of factors, the social movement as a whole flourished in the newcommunications environment. Printing not only functionally complemented many of the basicroutines of the capitalist entrepreneur, but more fundamentally it provided the means by whichsocial abstractions could circulate on a wide scale, leading to a complex division of labour.123Without the standardization and mass-reproducability afforded by printing, it is unlikely that sucha complex penetration of contractual socio-economic relations could have developed as it did.Certainly the oral-manuscript culture of medieval Europe placed significant obstacles in the pathof capitalist development. Once that environment changed, however, a complex system ofcontractarian socio-economic relations began to thrive.The consequences of this particular distributional change for world order transformationare two-fold: First, the growth of an urban bourgeoisie had what I earlier called a “levelling”effect on patterns of political and economic obligation, at least in urban areas, cutting throughthe entangled webs of personal loyalties characteristic of the feudal era and opening up thepossibility for common rule from a single centre. As Axtmann explains, “The disintegration offeudalism at the ‘molecular’ level of the manor/village resulted in the displacement of political-legal power upwards to the ‘national’ level.”92 Thus one of the central features of medievalworld order -- multiple and overlapping layers of personalized authority-- dissolved among anincreasingly important segment of the population.Second, the rise of a bourgeois class directly contributed to the centralizing drive of statemonarchs by providing finances for standing armies in return for standardized, rationaladministration of legal and commercial procedures within a territorial space. In Mann’s words,the newly emerging capitalists “entered and reinforced a world of emergent warring yetdiplomatically regulating states. Their need for, and vulnerability to, state regulation bothinternally and geopolitically, and the state’s need for finances, pushed classes and states toward124a territorially centralized organization.”93 In this respect, the rise of the urban bourgeoisie canbe seen as a transitional distributional change insofar as it not only helped to dissolve thearchitecture of medieval world order (specifically, feudal socio-economic relations), but it gavepositive impetus to, and was a constitutive force in, the emergence of modern world order(specifically, the centralization/standardization of territorial rule from a single centre). Thefollowing section takes a look at this process from the perspective of centralizing statebureaucracies.b. The emergence of modern state bureaucraciesAs Garrett Mattingly has pointed out, precursors to the modern state can be traced backfar into antiquity.94 The first bureaucracy arose in ancient Sumeria alongside the developmentof writing, which, as many have pointed out, is a necessary precondition for its development.95However, the roots of the legal and fiscal systems exclusive to modern state bureaucracies inEurope date from the 11th and 12th centuries and, not surprisingly, were closely bound up withthe re-establishment of secular literacy and the lay use of written documents.96 Technicalinnovations originating in northern Italian communes -- such as administration by an impersonalsalaried bureaucracy serving for a limited term and double-entry bookkeeping -- providedimportant precursors to the form that state bureaucracies ultimately took.97 Certain ideas werealso influential in giving birth to state bureaucracies in Europe, especially the rediscovery ofRoman law which helped fix the notion of a distinct “public” realm.98 And landmark treatises -- such as Richard Fitzneal’ s Dialogue on the Course of the Exchequer written during the reign125of Henry 11(1154-1189) -- helped to define the impersonal role of the bureaucratic administratorto the state as an abstract entity.99 However, the preconditions for centralized administrationdepended not just on ideas, but more crucially, on the technological capacity to carry them outas well -- a distinctly absent feature of rule for most nascent states in medieval Europe.Moves towards centralization on the part of aspiring medieval monarchs were difficultto sustain as a result of the constraints of the prevailing social, economic and politicalenvironment which, as outlined earlier, was overwhelmingly constituted by personalized, oralcommunications. Thus while we find the shells of modern states beginning to develop as earlyas the 12th century in countries like England where written administration was more advanced,the norm for the rest of Europe was a constant tension between the forces of localization andcentralization. Long-range administration based on networks of personal or blood ties wasineffective for sustaining cross-generational rule. It had a tendency to dissolve into pettyfiefdoms with local privilege-- a pattern that was repeated often throughout the Middle Ages asevidenced, for example, by the dissolution of the Carolingian and Ottonian dynasties. Medievalpolitical rule, in Poggi’ s words, “possessed an inherent tendency to shift the seat of effectivepower, the fulcrum of rule, downward toward the lower links in the chain of lord-vassalrelations.”10° Consequently, the political map of Europe in the Middle Ages was determined,accordingly to Mattingly, not so much “by geography, or national culture, or historicdevelopment” as it was “by the irrelevant accidents of birth and marriage and death.”10’The complexity by which personalized, crosscutting lord-vassal entanglements took root126in the Middle Ages made any attempts at centralization and rational administration within aterritorially-defined space extremely difficult for nascent states. Prior to the rediscovery ofRoman Law, there was no conception of a distinction between private legal and fiscalprerogatives of local authorities and that of a public realm. In the case of local lords, “On landunder his jurisdiction, public economy and the fiscal obligations related to it were identical withthe domestic economy of his private household.”102 Raising consistent state revenues --especially from one generation of leaders to the next -- was virtually impossible as a typicalmedieval ruler “knew the total of neither his income nor his outgoings” of his entire domain.’03One consequence of this entangled particularism was that Kings who wanted revenues from theirdomain regularly travelled with a large entourage in order to “consume the produce of theirscattered holdings.”°4 And since each hommage of lord-vassal obligation was entered intointuitu personae (that is, personally) the form of rule varied enormously from relationship torelationship and region to region. According to Poggi:the lord’s relationship to the ultimate objects of rule, the populace, was mediateddifferently by each vassal. The size of the flef, the exact terms on which it wasgranted, the rights of rule over it that remained with the lord or that were vestedin the vassal -- as these aspects of the basic relationship varied, so did themodalities and content of the exercise of rule.105Nonetheless, throughout the 13th and 14th centuries a gradual consolidation andcentralization of state authority ensued despite occasional setbacks-- a kind of “two-stepsforward/one-step backward” process. Although this process was driven by a multiplicity offactors, primary impetus is given by most theorists to the imperatives of war.’°6 Over thecourse of this period, organized warfare developed as a practice among larger territorial units -127- an evolution fuelled by innovations in military technology.107 In the context of this newdangerous environment, an imperative was placed on the maintenance of a standing army, andwhere relevant a war fleet, that could be summoned by a central ruler.’°8 Contrary to theuniversalist aspirations of neo-realists, it was at this time that a Hobbesian state-survivalmentality first took hold as the basis of inter-state relations)°9 The imperatives of warnecessitated a turning inward on the part of central rulers to maintain domestic stability andorder, and, more importantly, to find a way to raise constant revenues to finance the warmachine.”0 As outlined above, state rulers found willing allies in the urban bourgeoisie whoseinterests in order and rational administration converged with those of the central rulers. Andhappily for the state, the new townsmen were able and willing to provide money in the form oftaxes in exchange for the domestic services provided by the state. The specific form that thisrelationship took varied from state to state, as Tilly and Mann have documented.111 Butthroughout Europe from the 15th to the 17th centuries, the general phenomenon of modern statebureaucracies under territorially-distinct, absolutist rule began to emerge.Although the movement towards modern state bureaucracies was undoubtedly spurred onby the imperatives of waging interstate war, it was a process that thrived in the newcommunications environment, which provided the tools necessary for rational bureaucraticadministration. Indeed, as pointed out above, a necessary precondition for the emergence ofbureaucratic administration is some form of writing. Thus it is not surprising that thedevelopment of modern state bureaucracies in Europe was closely bound up with the spread ofsecular literacy in the High Middle Ages. Like other forms of “fitness” described throughout128this study, the relationship between the new communications environment and this particularpolitical development was mutually reinforcing as pressures for bureaucratization drove secularliteracy and a demand for standardized communications, while the development of the latter --especially the emergence of the printing press -- in turn vastly augmented the scope and scale ofbureaucracies.’12 This is evidenced by the fact that, as Febvre and Martin point out, earlyprinters thrived on state commissions for printed administrative records, with state policy activelyencouraging the creation of large, national publishing houses. The printed products emanatingfrom these large national publishing houses in turn increased the size of bureaucraticdocumentation, which necessitated more personnel.”3 This functional complementarymanifested itself along a number of different dimensions, which helped reinforce the developmentof state bureaucracies at this particular historical juncture (i.e., from the 15th century onwards).The most obvious way in which the new communications environment favoured theinterests of centralized state rulers was by facilitating more effective and systematic rewards andsanctions in the governance of outlying regions, particularly through the standardization of legalinstitutions and systems of direct taxation. As Tilly affirms, “Almost all European governmentseventually took steps which homogenized their “114 With means of standardizeddocumentation provided by printing, state rulers could effectively cut through and transcend thevagaries of personalized, feudal obligations that so often produced discrepancies among localesthroughout the King’s domain. With printing, regularized and impersonal procedures could beestablished that did not vary across a territorially-defined space. As an illustration, “between1665 and 1690 Louis XIV promulgated ordinances and codes that uniformly regulated over all129of France such diverse matters as civil and criminal court procedure, the management of forestsand rivers, shipping and sailing, and the trade in black slaves.”115 Printed, standardizeddocumentation also fuelled bureaucratic specialization, which had been proceeding apace sincethe 13th century in more developed bureaucracies, like France and England. For example, thenumber of state officials employed in the French Chancery rose from 30 individuals in 1316 tomore than 120 by the end of the 15th century. To take the case of England, sixty individualswere employed in its Chancery in the middle of the 13th century; by the 15th century, morethan a hundred were employed at the Court of Common Pleas alone.116 And the increasingbureaucratic specialization, in turn, generated yet more demands for printed and writtendocumentation. In Guenee’s words, “The proliferation of offices and officials inevitably led toa proliferation of the documents without which State action would be impossible and on whichits power was based.”7The state’ s interest in homogenization, as Tilly calls it, was closely bound up with adesire not only to more efficiently and consistently extract financial revenues, but also tomaintain domestic order and security through surveillance of the population and territory-- aninterest that thrived with the availability of printing. Although many theorists have commentedon this interest in a surveillance capacity, one of the more compelling interpretations is MichelFoucault’ s discussion of the “disciplinary state.”118 Foucault argues that in the transition tothe modern state, coercion and overt violence as tools for social order were gradually replacedby a more impersonal “micro-politics” of discipline designed to morally regulate or “normalize”individuals through institutional regulation and bureaucratic administration.”9Though Foucault130is more concerned with the ideas that lay behind this transition, it is easy to see the way thematerial instruments of technology at the disposal of state administrators were crucial infacilitating this re-orientation.’20Perhaps the best example of the way printing helped to empower the “disciplinary state”is the reproduction of printed maps used for administrative purposes. As Barber notes withrespect to England, by the 16th century state ministers “came to expect a greater precision inmaps than had their predecessors, and several became more sophisticated in their evaluation of,and their awareness of the potential uses of, maps for government.” And he goes on to say thatthe government of the time “seems to have shown a growing appetite for printed maps, whichwere cheaper, increasingly plentiful, and less prone to scribal errors in transmission than theirmanuscript counterparts.”2’In 1610, a State Paper Office was formally established in Englandto house the ever-increasing number of official maps.’22 Likewise, Buisseret notes with respectto France: “At the time of Louis XIV’s accession... French governing circles possessed a well-developed sense of the usefulness of maps, and there were cartographers capable of respondingto their needs. . . . [through] an abundance of presses, mostly concentrated in Paris, capable ofprinting and diffusing large maps in considerable quantities.”23 For example:For economic andfinancialplanning, maps were commissioned to show where thevarious fiscal divisions, or generalites, ran, and where specific taxes like thegabelle (salt tax) were to be paid.. . . Other maps were ordered when great publicworks like the canal du Midi were being planned; this canal had a very richcartography associated with it. Others, again, were commissioned to show thesites of the mines in France, or the nature and extent of its forests.’24Another example of the way the printing environment fuelled the disciplinary state was131in the area of public education, as Luke in particular has shown.’25 Consider in this respectthe way printing made feasible standardized public “examinations” through which each individualwas compelled to pass, helping to create a cumulative, individual “archive” of persons under thestate. Luke notes how “Printing enabled the ‘power of writing’ to become universalized andstandardized; teachers like wardens examined, evaluated, recorded, and described those in theircharge according to standardized (administrative) forms based on underlying classificatorycriteria. “126 These standardized, printed examinations helped to instill a sense of rank in thepopulation which, as Foucault describes, defined “the great form of distribution of individualsin the education order. . . . an alignment of age groups, one after another; a succession of subjectstaught and questions treated... “127 In this way, standardized public education in the form ofprinted school textbooks and printed school ordinances served the disciplinary interests of thestate, which promoted a uniformity of belief among the population through compulsory schoolingof the young.’28In sum, the movement towards modern state bureaucracies, which began in the HighMiddle Ages, was “favoured” by the change in the mode of communication, first with thegradual increase in secular literacy and then, more dramatically, with the introduction ofprinting. Printing fuelled the strategic interests of nascent state bureaucracies by providing themeans by which standardized documents -- from school textbooks, to public ordinances and fiscalregulations, to maps of the realm -- could be mass reproduced and disseminated. In this way,printing provided the tools by which centralizing rulers could promote homogenous policiesacross territorially-defined spaces and thus dissolve the cross-cutting and overlapping jurisdictions132characteristic of the medieval world order. Moreover, as printing provided a way by whichdocuments could be mass produced at little cost, a system of inter-generational rule could beestablished thus freezing the tendency repeated throughout the Middle Ages for centralized ruleto wither following the death of influential personalities.ConclusionIn this chapter I have described how the introduction of printing in medieval Europebrought about specific distributional changes that altered strategic incentives, helping to empowercertain actors and social forces at the expense of others. Most immediately affected by theadvent of printing was the transnational authority of the Roman Catholic Church, which hadcome close to establishing a theocratic papal government over much of western Europe in theHigh Middle Ages based on a monopoly of the reproduction of knowledge. The Church’spreeminent position in medieval world order was undercut by forces whose strategic interestscoincided with, and were augmented by, the advent of printing -- the Protestant Reformation andscientific humanism. The new communications environment facilitated the interests of these twosocial forces by permitting the mass reproduction and widespread transmission of ideas outsideof the papal-monastic network. The Church’s interests, on the other hand, were significantlydisadvantaged by the change in the mode of communication, as evidenced by its explicitcondemnation of the printing press once its full potential had been unleashed.The chapter also explored the way in which distributional changes associated with printing133helped facilitate constitutive features of modern world order: specifically, contractarian socioeconomic relations among the new urban bourgeoisie, and modern state bureaucracies. Theprinting environment “favoured” the demands of contractarian socio-economic relations bypermitting the widespread use of social abstractions crucial to modern, interdependent economies.This particular social force was vital to the development of modern political rule insofar as itsinterests in standardization and order converged with those of centralizing state monarchs, whowere willing to provide domestic stability in exchange for the ability extract revenues throughtaxes. The capabilities of printing-- especially the mass reproduction of standardized documents-- also helped to empower the disciplinary state, which had a vested interest in both thehomogenization of the population and the standardization of administration. Although thesedistributional changes were crucial in the medieval-to-modern transformation of world order, theydo not tell the whole story. The next chapter explores the relationship between the change inthe mode of communication and the transformation of social epistemology.Notes1.For analysis of heresies in the Middle Ages, see Gordon Leff, Heresy in the Middle Ages: therelation of heterodoxy to dissent, (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1967); R.I. Moore, ThOrigins of European Dissent, (London: Allen Lane, 1977); and Edward Peters, Heresy andAuthority in Medieval Europe, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvannia Press, 1980).2.See Barraclough, The Medieval Papacy, pp. 164-187.3.On the “Black Death” plague, see William H. McNeill, Plagues and Peoples, (New York:Anchor Press, 1976); and Robert S. Gottfried, The Black Death: Nature and Disaster inMedieval Europe, (New York: Free Press, 1983); Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, pp. 92-125;and Ruggie, “Territoriality,” pp. 153-154.4.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 39.1345.See Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 148.6.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 288.7.On the Inquisition, see Bernard Hamilton, The Medieval Inquisition, (London: E. Arnold,1981).8.Eisenstein, The Printing Press, pp. 303-304.9.See Eisenstein, The Printing Press, [vol.1], p. 317.l0.Ibid., p. 375.11 .See Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, pp. 170-172.12.Ibid., p. 172.13. For a discussion of works that make such strong claims, see Eisenstein, The Printing Press,pp. 303-329.14.See Luke, Pedagogy. Printing, and Protestantism, p. 78; This particular argument is onefavoured by those inclined to a Marxist view of history. See, F. Engels, The Peasant War inGermany, [trans. M.J. 01gm] (New York: International Publishers, 1926); and F. Braudel, ThStructures of Everyday Life, Vol.1, [trans. S. Reynolds] (New York: Harper and Row, 1979).15.Ibid., p. 134.16.Dudley, The Word and the Sword, p. 153.17.See Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, pp. 289-290.18.See Mark U. Edwards Jr., Printing. Propaganda. and Martin Luther, (Los Angeles:University of California Press, 1994), p. 1.19.Ibid., p. 17.20.Ibid.21 .Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 39.22.Ibid.23.Edwards, Printing. Propaganda. and Martin Luther, p. 15.24 .Ibid.25 .Ibid.13526.Ibid., p. 16.27.The study by Hans-Joachim Kohier is cited in Ibid., p. 180. See also, Febvre and Martin,The Coming of the Book, pp. 109-115.28.Edwards, Printing. Propaganda. and Martin Luther, pp. 6-7.29.Luke, Pedagogy. Printing, and Protestantism, p. 75.30.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 295.31 .Edwards, Printing. Propaganda. and Martin Luther, p. 7.32.Quoted in Curran, “Communications, power, and social order,” p. 217.33.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 40.34.Eisenstein, The Printing Press, p. 68; Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 291.35.Kohler is cited in Edwards, Printing. Propaganda. and Martin Luther, pp. 37-39; Theoriginal study which Edwards cites is Hans-Joachim Kohler, “The Flugschnften and theirimportance in religious debate: a quantitative approach,” in Paola Zambelli, (ed.) Astrologihallucinati: Stars and the End of the World in Luther’s Time, (New York: W. de Gruyter,1986), pp. 153-175.36. Cf. Gerald Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning: Indoctrination of the Young in the GermanReformation, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978).37.See Curran, “Communications, power, and social order,” p. 220; See also, Edwards,Printing. Propaganda. and Martin Luther, pp. 37-38.38.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 40.39.See Eisenstein, The Printing Press, pp. 347-348; See also, Anderson, Imagined Communities,p. 40.40.Ibid., p. 355.41.Ibid., pp. 415-416.42.As cited in Luke, Pedagogy. Printing. and Protestantism, p. 47.43.Ibid.44.As related in Edwards, Printing. Propaganda, and Martin Luther, p. 14.45.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 40.13646.Curran, “Communications, power, and social order,” p. 218.47.Anderson calls book-publishing “one of the earlier forms of capitalist enterprise.” SeeAnderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 37-39; See also Febvre and Martin, The Coming of theBook, chapter 7; Eisenstein, The Printing Press, pp. 310-315.48.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 38; and Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book,pp. 264-265.49.See Jacques Le Goff, Intellectuals in the Middle Ages, [Translated by Teresa LavenderFagan] (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1993); and Hans Bluinenberg, The Gensis of theCopernican World, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987).50.See Gordon Leff, Paris and Oxford Universities in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries:An Institutional and Intellectual History, (New York: Krieger Publishers, 1975); and Le Goff,Intellectuals in the Middle Ages.51.See Carlo M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy 100-1700, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1976); and Mumford, Technics and Civilization.52.See Le Goff, Intellectuals in the Middle Ages, pp. 107-119; and Cantor, The Civilizationof the Middle Ages, pp. 442-448.53.Eisenstein, The Printing Press, pp. 455-456.54.Eisenstein, The Printing Press, p. 517.55.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 148.56.Eisenstein, The Printing Press, p. 75.57.Ibid., The Printing Press, p. 517.58.Ibid., pp. 88-113; On the esprit de systeme, see Foucault, The Order of Things.59.See Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death, pp. 51-53.60.See Eisenstein, The Printing Press, p. 113.61 .On the relationship between the idea of progress and the mode of communication, particularlyas it is expressed by thinkers such as Condillac and Condorcet, see Heyer, Communications andHistory, Part 1. The Eighteenth Century.62.Curran, “Communications, power and social order,” p. 218.63.The classic work here is Bloch, Feudal Society, Vols. I and II.13764.Ibid., pp. 145-162.65.Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 91.66.See Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 90.67.See Stock, The Implications of Literacy, for a detailed discussion of literacy levels indifferent regions and periods throughout the Middle Ages.68.Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, p. 92.69.Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record, p. 272.70.Ibid., p. 275.71.As cited in Ibid., p. 254.72.Ibid., p. 263.73. Hendrick Spruyt, “Institutional selection in international relations: state anarchy as order,”International Organization 48 (Autumn 1994), p. 529.74.Ibid., p. 537; See also Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life, pp. 436-477 for a lengthydiscussion of money and barter from the late Middle Ages through to the 18th century.75.See Spruyt, “Institutional Selection,” p. 537; See also Clanchy, From Memory to WrittenRecords; and Susan Reynolds, Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900 - 1300,(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984).76. Spruyt, “Institutional selection,” pp. 537-538.77.E.L. Jones, The European Miracle: environments, economies, and geopolitics in the historyof Europe and Asia, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981).78.Ibid; See also Ruggie, “Territoriality,” pp. 152-154.79. Ruggie, “Territoriality,” p. 153.80. Spruyt, “Institutional selection,” p. 539.81.Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 144.82.Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labour in Society, (New York: The Free Press, 1933).83.Stock, The Implications of Literacy; and Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record.13884.John J. McCusker and Cora Gravesteijn, The Beginnings of Commercial and FinancialJournalism: The Commodity Price Currents. Exchange Rate Currents, and Money Currents ofEarly Modern Europe, (Amsterdam: NEHA, 1991), p. 21.85.Ibid., p. 23.86.Ibid., pp. 43-84.87.See Ibid.88.See Carolyn Webber and Aaron Wildavsky, A History of Taxation and Expenditure in theWestern World, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986), p. 153.89.Of course the classic work on the capitalist spirit is Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and theSpirit of Capitalism, [Translated by Talcott Parsons] (New York: Charles Scribner’ s Sons, 1958).However, given Weber’ s thesis linking the rise of the capitalist ethos to religious impulses, it isnot surprising that he pays no attention to the change in the mode of communication at the time -- a shortcoming that has been noted by a number of communications theorists, the mostvociferous of which is undoubtedly Eisenstein. See Eisenstein, The Printing Press, pp. 378-402.90.See especially Ong, Orality and Literacy; Havelock, Preface to Plato; and Goody, IliLogic of Writing.91.Dudley, The Word and the Sword, p. 171.92.Roland Axtmann, “The formation of the modern state: the debate in the social sciences,” inMary Fuibrook, (ed.) National Histories and European History, (Boulder: Westview Press,1993), p. 33. For a similar argument, see Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State; andCharles Tilly, Coercion. Capital. and European States, AD 990 - 1990, (London: BasilBlackwell, 1990).93.Michael Mann, Sources of Social Power, Volume 1, (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 1986), p. 514.94.Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy, p. 122.95.See Goody, The Logic of Writing; Geliner, Plough. Sword, and Book; Dudley, The Wordand the Sword; Innis, Empire and Communications.96.This is the thesis of Clanchy’s From Memory to Written Record; See also Joseph Strayer,On the Medieval Origins of the Modern State, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970).97.Webber and Wildavsky, A History of Taxation, p. 153.98.On the rediscovery of Roman Law and its relation to centralizing state bureaucracies, see139Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State, p. 27; Webber and Wildavsky, A History ofTaxation, p. 182; and Ruggie, “Continuity and Transformation in World Polity,” p. 144.99.See Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages, pp. 398-399; See also Clanchy, FromMemory to Written Record, p. 19.100.Gianfranco Poggi, The Development of the Modern State: A Sociological Introduction,(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978), p. 26.1O1.Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy, p. 125.102.Webber and Wildavsky, A History of Taxation, p. 149.103.Bernard Guenee, States and Rulers in Late Medieval Europe, [Translated by Juliet Vale](London: Basil Blackwell, 1985), p. 92.104.Ibid., p. 168.105.Poggi, The Development of the Modern State, p. 27;106.Otto Hintze once claimed (perhaps too strongly) that war was “the flywheel of the wholepolitical enterprise of the modern state.” As quoted in Axtmann, “The formation of the modernstate,” p. 29. A good overview of the “war-made-the-modern-state” thesis is provided inAxtmann’ s article. For other sources, see the following endnote.107.The definitive sources here are McNeill, The Pursuit of Power; Mann, Sources of SocialPower; and Tilly, Coercion. Capital. and European States.108. For an outstanding (and relatively succinct) narrative of these processes, see Poggi, ThDevelopment of the Modern State, Chapter IV.109.For the contrary view, see Waltz, Man, the State. and War; and Waltz, Theory ofInternational Politics.1 10.For a quasi-Marxist, though widely accepted, account see Anderson, Lineages of theAbsolutist State; See also James Anderson and Stuart Hall, “Absolutism and Other Ancestors,”in Anderson (ed.) The Rise of the Modern State, p. 31.111 .Tilly, Coercion. Capital and European States; and Mann, Sources of Social Power.1 12.This is Clanchy’s thesis in From Memory to Written Record.1 13.Febvre and Martin, The Coming of the Book, p. 127.1 14.Charles Tilly, “Reflections on the History of European State-Mng,” in Charles Tilly (ed.)140The Formation of National States in Western Europe, (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1975), pp. 43-44.1 15.Poggi, The Development of the Modern State, p. 72.1 16.These figures are taken from Guenee, States and Rulers, p. 127.1 17.Ibid.1 18.See Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison, [Trans. Alan Sheridanj(New York: Vintage Books, 1979); For similar interpretations, see Anthony Giddens, j1Nation-state and violence, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985); Norbert Elias, [Translatedby Edmund Jephcottj The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners and State Formation andCivilization, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1994).1 19.For an overview discussion of Foucault’ s ideas in this respect, see Axtmann, “The formationof the modern state,” pp. 3 8-40.120.Foucault himself briefly alludes to the crucial role played by documentation, or what he callsa “network of writing,” as part of the mechanism of discipline, but is remiss in not mentioningprint in this regard. See Discipline and Punish, p. 189. For discussion which argue thatFoucault is remiss in not discussing print, see Luke, Pedagogy. Printing and Protestantism, p.3; and Heyer, Communications and History, pp. 141-155.121.Peter Barber, “England II: Monarchs, Ministers, and Maps, 1550 - 1625,” in DavidBuisseret, (ed.) Monarchs. Ministers, and Maps: The Emergence of Cartography as a Tool ofGovernment in Early Modern Europe, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992), pp.58, 61.122.Ibid., p. 83.123.David Buisseret, “Monarchs, Ministers, and Maps in France before the Accession of LouisXIV,” in Buisseret, (ed.) Monarchs. Ministers, and Maps, p. 100.124.Ibid., p. 99.125.The following section relies on Luke, Pedagogy. Printing, and Protestantism.126.Ibid.127.Foucault, Discipline and Punish, p. 147; This same passage is cited by Luke, Pedagogy.Printing and Protestantism, p. 7.128.See Luke, Pedagogy. Printing and Protestantism, pp. 11-12.141Chapter Four: Print and the Medieval to Modern World Order Transformation:Changes to Social EpistemologyIntroductionWhile distributional changes facilitated by the new mode of communication help explainthe transition from the medieval to the modern world order, they do not tell the whole story.Ruggie explains that:The demise of the medieval system of rule and the rise of the modern resulted inpart from a transformation in social epistemology. Put simply, the mentalequipment that people drew upon in imagining and symbolizing forms ofcommunity itself underwent fundamental change.’In this chapter I turn to the second of the conceptually distinct effects that arise from achange in the mode of communication: changes in social epistemology. As outlined in thetheoretical chapter, social epistemology refers to the web-of-beliefs into which a people areacculturated and through which they perceive and act on the world around them. It encompassesall of the socially constructed ideas, symbolic forms, and cognitive biases that frame meaningand behaviour for a population in a particular historical context. According to the ecologicalholist perspective advanced here, social epistemology is not a mere “superstructure” that isultimately reducible to some material “base,” but has an independent, constitutive effect on thenature or character of politics and social order. Since these social constructs, symbolic forms,and cognitive biases that comprise the social epistemology of an era obviously blanket a widespectrum of diverse traits, for analytical purposes we must break them down into some142manageable (though not necessarily exhaustive) set. In this chapter (and in chapter seven) Iexamine three elements of social epistemology: individual identity; spatial biases; and imaginedcommunities. As will be shown below, changes in all three of these elements of socialepistemology were crucial in providing what might be called the “metaphysical” underpinningsof modern world order.The purpose of this chapter is to trace how changes in these defining symbolic forms andsocial constructs were in no small part facilitated by the shift in the mode of communication --namely, the development of printing. This is not to say that they were, in a crude monocausalsense, generated by it, nor even that printing was the sole facilitator. To be sure, the emergingmodern social epistemology was a product of many different causal factors having roots thatreach back into the late Middle Ages and beyond. Nevertheless, by viewing changes in socialepistemology through the lens of the mode of communication we can see how a comfortable “fit”obtained between certain symbolic forms and printing that may help explain why they resonatedso strongly at this particular juncture. Printing functionally complemented some of the importantlatent components of social epistemology that would later be so important in providing the basisupon which political authority was differentiated in modern Europe.a. Individual identityProbably the most striking and important shift from the medieval to the moderncosmology was in terms of individual identity. As Dumont explains, there are two different143notions of individualism: one, the indivisible sample of the human species found in all societiesand cultures; and, two, “the independent, autonomous and thus (essentially) nonsocial moralbeing, as found primarily in our modern.. .ideology of man and society.”2 Only the latter,ideological notion of “individualism” concerns us here. Dumont points out that “some of us havebecome increasingly aware that modern individualism, when seen against the background of theother great civilizations that the world has known, is an exceptional phenomenon.”3 In otherwords, the modern notion of individualism is a historically-contingent moral idea, one not linkedto all human beings in all times and places, despite the best intentions of some naive liberalteleologists or methodological individualists to portray it as such.Certainly elements of modern individuality can be found in the Christian religion, whichupheld the possibility of every person’s salvation regardless of status in the temporal realm(though here individuality was subordinate within a strictly hierarchical view of natural order).4And traces of what might be considered characteristic features of “modern” individuality can beseen in sporadic flourishes among medieval intellectuals arising as early as the 12th and 13thcenturies.5 Another precursor can be found in the teachings of Franciscan piety, whichfurthered a religion centred on personal experience and private devotion, and which was popularwithin the newly emerging towns of the 13th century.6 But it is only in modern Europe thatindividualism is first exalted as a defining principle of individual identity in marked contrast tothe medieval “Chain of Being.”7The individual’s place in the medieval order followed the Augustinian view of “the144arrangement of equal and unequal beings, appointing to each the place fitting for him.”8 Thusinequality and difference were taken-for-granted parts of an organic image of society, one thatexpressed functional differentiation among constituent parts. The clearest expression of this ideawas the division of society into the Three Orders: the bellatores; the oratores; and thelaboratores.9 As Lyon explains, a person’s place in medieval cosmology was the antithesis ofmodern individualism:When time and space have a beginning and an end men are also fixed in status,and the whole message of their culture is to remind them of that place and towarn them that only sorrow can result from any attempt to break the chains thattie them to family, trade, religion, and class.... Such a lock-step is consistent witha world in which the final metaphysical solutions had be