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Wrijvende meningen. Media en openbaarheid in Delft, 1850-1914


Frank van Vree

Universiteit van Amsterdam, NL
About Frank

Frank van Vree is hoogleraar Journalistiek en Cultuur aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Hij studeerde geschiedenis en filosofie in Groningen en Leiden en publiceerde o.a. De Nederlandse pers en Duitsland 1930-1939 (Groningen 1989), In de schaduw van Auschwitz. Herinneringen, beelden, geschiedenis (Groningen 1995), De metamorfose van een dagblad. Een journalistieke geschiedenis van de Volkskrant (Amsterdam 1996) en De politiek van de openbaarheid Journalistiek en publieke sfeer (Groningen 2000). Hij was een van de redacteuren van de onlangs verschenen bundel Journalistieke cultuur in Nederland (Amsterdam 2002).

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Friction of Opinions. The media and the Publics Sphere in Delft, 1850-1914

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

How to Cite: van Vree, Frank. 2001. “Wrijvende Meningen. Media En Openbaarheid in Delft, 1850-1914”. TMG Journal for Media History 4 (2): 51–66. DOI:
Published on 01 Dec 2001.


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