How The Internet Has Changed Time And Space, From A Modernist Perspective.

2990 words - 12 pages

At the beginning of the third millenium, how we view and experience space and time is very different from how it was viewed at the turn of the last century. The reason for this is modern technology - as modernisation and technology have progressed and inevitably changed, so too have the qualities of space and time. This has been no more apparent than in the development of the Internet, which has changed space and time in ways which citizens of the Modernist era could scarcely have imagined.The mid to late nineteenth century was a time of major upheaval. The Modernist era brought innovations such as the telephone, radio, steam train and electric light, which changed not only how people saw themselves in relation to others, but also how they saw themselves in their own personal space and time. As progress brought about civilising and enlightening aspects to society, people began to question not only how such innovations worked, but how the individual was affected by them and, by extension, how space and time had changed.Prior to the Industrial Revolution, our concept of time was linked to the natural rhythms of the seasons. We knew that after four seasons, we would be one year older. Out internal clocks were diurnal; we rose with the sun and went to bed when the sun went down. As technology and modernisation progressed, our concept of time changed.As individuals were increasingly drawn into an urban,factory-based system of employment, the experienceof the flow of time became increasingly linked to thetime-keeping mechanisms required for the synchronizationof labour and the organization of the working week.(Thompson, 1995, p. 36).The urbanization of the environment, and subsequent events such as the introduction of shift-work in factories, brought about a change in how time was perceived. Workers who had previously worked in daylight hours and slept at night had to adjust to working different hours, a change which impacted not only on the individual but on society as a whole. Instead of retiring as soon as the sun went down, people were now working and socialising at night under the glow of the new electric lights.Since the Industrial Revolution, time has been linked with such Modernist ideas as progress and civilization. Progress such as the miniaturisation of timepieces meant that by the early twentieth century, watches had become small enough and affordable enough to be owned by the majority of the industrial populace. Having time in one's pocket (or at least a pocket watch) meant that time became increasingly commodified. It became a precious item not to be wasted. There was now no excuse for not being punctual for work or meetings. Time had changed into a currency, a means of production; to be a good member of society, as Foucault put it, one had to be a productive member. With the proliferation of the pocket-watch, members of society could be at their most productive.As the rail system in the late nineteenth century developed, progressing and...

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