Advances in Journalism and Communication
Vol.04 No.04(2016), Article ID:73215,14 pages

Media Romanticism: The New Public Sphere

Abdallah Hidri

Department of Mass Communication, College of Arts and Science, Qatar University, Qatar

Copyright © 2016 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: August 5, 2016; Accepted: December 27, 2016; Published: December 30, 2016


The emergence of new media announces the emergence of a new style of literary, artistic and mediatic approach of social phenomena. This new approach, founded on the ease of expression and the liberty to broach public issues, has broken the silence spiral of the institutional mass media and has counteracted exclusion mechanisms. It was regarded as a new brand wave of media and cultural production social chain reactions which was still pouring out society and individuals concerns. It is safe to conclude that this kind of production with all its varieties and ramifications is sociologically the definition of the public media’s failure to appeal to the wide spectrum of the social strata through what is being broadcasted as extravagant speeches about the key elements of society, besieging its very behavior culturally, politically and economically… it is, philosophically speaking, an expression of a self-consciousness, the belief of difference and equal communication. The mark of this new brand media is an expression of a romantic trend invading the international media’s landscape, announcing for a new era of media and communication, very much similar to that of the 18th century that devastated European literature and arts.


Public Sphere, Social Media, Cultural Identity, Self-Media, Romanticism

1. Introduction

The concept of new media might not be clearly and accurately defined by its technical characteristics that have evolved with the progress in science, rationalization and empiricism, although such characteristics are of a nature directly related to identifying what is “New” in the industry of new media. The phenomenon of new media is more than just a technical development and a change in tools created new ways of communication. It is a complicated growth of awareness, the shape of which is defined sociologically and technically, in the needs and meanings of the era. The interesting thing about the phases of this growth was that it was not created by institutional media and communication channels, but spontaneously within social networks as a form of setting and exchanging the concept. That might be the reason behind new media being a part of the social interaction in more than one level, i.e., in contrary with the traditional public pattern; it is a general power available for individuals having the minimum level of the digital literacy used in forming social groups.

The idea of limiting the realization of the nature of new media, is illustrated in other contexts, in considering the technology circuits to be the controller of the social change, as have been adopted by some philosophers and sociologists e.g., Marx and McLuhan, separating technology and society by considering new media as an independent mean, internally developed. Aiming to include in such realization, the reality of technology is as a social project and a part and parcel of the social structure where a multi-structural analysis is the core of new media.

What would initially express the definition of new media is highlighting its characteristics and underlying its values, which is the enormous flow of the media, communications and cultural industry through the internet, free of the standard media writing, rhetorical and expressional rules, simultaneously accompanied with new tools and means to understand and handle the current reality. A flow mixed the public with the private, the right with the wrong, the real with the virtual, the fact with the fantasy, the civil society with the multicultural society and the state with the individual.

These contradictions are accompanied with a direction towards flexible patterns of communication that are free of all kinds of ethical and ideological control and are surrounded by a race to win recognition and self-realization, and the retrieval of the account of the marginalized person, through the Act of blogging, as well as social networking which is also in the production of free exchange of ideas and opinions.

This direction could be the reason behind the aforementioned contradictions, which leads a promising speech for an end to the cultural and media marginalization, a phase that has lasted for a long time in mass media, and the state dominance over the sector, at the same time, announces the revival of the right of differentiation and the power of the individual imagination extending to new aspects of social reality which the traditional media was unable to reach due to the controlling nature of society that relied on monitoring, prioritization, the capacity for cumulative effects and creating spiral of silence. This suppressed reality began to surface since the advent of blogs and social networks revealed to be sociologically legitimate identified by the individual focus more than the institutional media approach.

2. Research Problem

The new form of technical, literary and media analysis of social phenomena based on easy expression and thinking, and ultimate freedom in addressing and discussing public and private issues is what broke the spiral of silence in the institutionalized media and destructed marginalization mechanisms and rise as the new era of media and cultural production and social interaction which was for a long time the source of social dilemmas and individual interests.

We can say that this diversified and fragmented production is, sociologically speaking, an indication of the failure of mass media in attracting social classes by exaggerating roles of the people affecting the society by controlling its educational, political and the economical behaviors. Philosophically, it is an indication of self-consciousness and the strong belief in the differences and equalities in communication, therefore, to understand this new era, one should before, understand the marginalization and attraction in traditional media. This can be found, technically and sociologically, to be a clear indication of a romantic trend sweeping the global media scene, this romantic trend is what most people identified new media to be in starting a new phase of media and communication. It is a trend similar to the on that affected literature and every kind of art in Europe in the late Eighteenth century.

A closer look at the factors behind the new trend in media and communication, shows that it is similar, in terms of significance, to those that created the Romanticism in Germany, France, The United Kingdom, Italy and Spain, and made it a school of art and thought in the fields of art, philosophy, politics, and sociology, and it includes different fields in a form which implies revolution on the intellectual and expressional means then prevailed. Focusing on the general characteristics of both the new trend in media and the Romanticism we can see that they are of the same nature; the necessity of Romanticism called by Novalis at the end of the eighteenth century, is back in action in interdisciplinary field rich with different sectors of knowledge forming the core of its theoretical and epistemological, where technology controls its practical aspects which make it possible to reveal the social interface of the new media and identify its characteristics based on its romanticism as the symbol of its speech and the cross line between the past and the new.

3. The Romantic Trend in New Media

Talking about romanticism in new media is not excluded on a specific type of modern media production or to a specific style that the media industry is known for we also do not limit our talk to a particular intellectual work, quoted in modern media, and broad- cast across the broad public, but we talk about the meaning of romanticism in media, primarily, the sensual nature experienced internally by the broadcaster, in the mediological and sociological sense of the word, as a producer of meanings. Romanticism, as described by Baudelaire (Baudelaire, 1975: p. 85) is not external but it is an inner power and it is pointless to search for it anywhere else. Being an inner sense, media romanticism remains a general environment that prevails the “postmodernism” society described as a multicultural society in which individuality is uncovered as a “mystery power out of any kind of control” (Ziyadah, 2003: p. 68) that is clearly present in the fields of politic, art, economics and media.

It can be seen in the movement of postmodernism an objective context that enables the observer to understand the general climate we are talking about. One of the clearest characteristics of such context, sociologically speaking, is the status of fragmentation of individuals which is a natural result of society fragmentation and division into intellectual, ideological, cultural and economical groups, sects and tribes, which is the result of the collapse of modernism values and its continuous crisis1 in two centuries span. Thus Modernism, as much as it was a liberal and rational project that has led to organizational, economical, and technical achievements, its technical rationality, otherwise known as “bureaucracy” has failed to provide solutions for the political and ethical issues that led to disputes, conflicts and wars, and served as a function for the evidential models of points of failure in the mid-controlled modernism project which triggered the emergence of postmodern philosophical intellectual movement that called for a review of modern thought patterns and its conflicts either for being a failed project as seen by some thinkers, like Michel Foucault, describing the characteristics of a modern society that led to only the establishment of control institutions and monitoring mechanisms that supported technology development (Foucault, 1975) or being an incomplete project that needs to be rationalized (Touraine, 1992) and reconstructed and free it from power, violence and dehumanization as was called by Alain Touraine in his criticism to modernism (Touraine, 1992) , or Habermas in proposing the Theory of Communicative mind or in addressing the subject of science and technology as an “ideology” (Habermas, 1973) .

The intellectual and cultural environment in which media romanticism flourished is characterized by “the fall of many mass ideologies, the win of private against public and radical criticism to Humane” (Afaya, 1998: p. 109) .

An environment where everything moves individually, denies dominance and rejects enslavement practiced by media institutions. Compared to the eighteenth century Romanticism, that was a revolution against philosophical rationalism and classical constraints and dominance, the twenty first century romanticism is a revolution against media rationalism that bore different types of political, economical and cultural dominance, and rooted the reality of exclusion in social reality of individuals withheld by the media institution in exchange for a manufacture of an evident evolving service.

And we are not, in this respect, comparing two periods in the context and thinking and method and practice, although comparison-wise, to a certain extent, determining the truth about what is happening today in the field of media and communication from change in format and content, but we would like, as previously noted, to understand how to renew the romance in an organized field. Then new media, in professional and academic dimensions, could not, in our judgment, know or understand its characteristics, away from thinking of complex contextual elements that make up its environment, and the substantive aspects in its definitions, but the meaning of new is, as a new phenomenon, not without considering it to be a romantic movement, explained hereunder, through a group of intellectual and philosophical identifications, which comes to surface every time we address the eighteenth century romanticism.

4. Self and Intersubjectivity

The self in romanticism has a value that prefers sense over mind. Self has attracted philosophers in general and German philosophers in particular, for almost a century, starting with Kant who considered the self to be the center of existence, Fichte and Schelling adopted Kant’s dualism that views “the thing in itself” la chose en soi and the human mind being the creator of facts, representing with this, just as Kant did, the self and object dualism according to the philosophical thinking of each of them. Fichte believed that self is everything in existence, Schelling believed that everything that exists is a self. For Hegel, it is completely different, in Hegel’s philosophy, self-consciousness can only exist if it is recognized and acknowledged by others. It is more of a symbolic existence than it is real in its own independence, with it contradicting Fichte and Locke’s concept that is based on admitting self existence before self recognition.

The basis for the return of self-awareness in new media, as clearly shown in blogging that has been expanding for over a decade now, was not philosophical as it was the case with the eighteenth century romanticism, neither a local nor a regional event excluded a certain society but a public behavior deconstructs the globally scattered values of “postmodernism.” Concentrating on the self as an attitude that has distinguished new media and resulted in a new type of biographies, memoirs, novels, personal experiences and personal diaries on web pages, is a reaction to the dominance of political, Ideological and culturally central ideas, and to economical, media and cultural violence being produced marginalized with exclusion.

This violence comes in different forms that vary from one society to another. The violence in liberal democracy comes in the idea of the market being a center that determines the value of individuals and citizenship, as the “good” citizen in industrial societies the consumer is valued by the citizen’s ability to consume of entertainment regardless of the citizen’s morals and loyalty to religion, country and profession. A good citizen should have electronic banking, credit and post paid cards that enable him to fit in the world of leisure. The more the individual consumes the more social and moral recognition he’ll have, otherwise a citizen would be lost in marginalization and exclusion spirals.

Violence might be found in the liberal idea of “let do and let pass”. Nowadays, there is an argument about the liberal violence rooted in the poor neighborhoods surrounding the world’s biggest capitals that lead to social marginalization of low-income and to the massively growing unemployment rates which are great affects the education, health and moral systems. Poor neighborhoods remain an evidence of the brutality of Liberalism. Economical Liberalism is based on “preventing” the state from running the economical relations between the individuals and the local, the regional and the international groups, and not interfering, as a political institution; in the capitalists’ economic activities based on free competition which lead to a great imbalance in wealth distribution as the capitalists’ market is the logic of the wealthy and powerful who gain more and as the old new quote from Adam Smith, wealth produced in a self-regulating market, is on action. Violence is also clear in the natural results caused by the gaps between the rich and the poor.

The rise of general and specialized news websites and blogs caused a shake for the centralized media industry and for the reality of the intellectual existence of the media speech of power that is creating marginalization. With new media, every individual is a central creating diversity that causing a deep rooting of self-awareness that is referred to by Chateaubriand in the late eighteenth century and was adopted by the novelists and poets of his generation as a form of complaint about the present for being full of depressions and fear of dominance regimes and systems that deny intellectual and ideological diversity.

By making the self a center and exploring the ego that is encouraged by digital communication networks, romanticism entered the media field as an expression of self and a complaint about the unjust social laws. A closer look at the blogs, one can find the subject of such blogs is all about the ways to give an individual’s self an intellectual and sociological presence that has been marginalized for a long time with the written mass media, regardless of the defragmented and complicated nature-self that came in the postmodern thinking. It is worth paying attention to, in such phenomenon that all the interaction and intersubjectivity on the net, is being communicated in a language, the question is, which language? Is it the language as “a system of rules and terms independent from the people who are using and creating it?” (Chandler, 2008: p. 39) or the language that is free of all rules created by the reality of social individuals in their communication with the reality they are living? For “pro-postmodernism” the language might be an obstruction for realizing facts and expressing its true nature. Can the “popular language”, which is the language of the people, be the best mean to build reality and achieve self-recognition? Isn’t it also a set of terms and agreements?

5. The Popular Language and the Spoken Dialect

Language, according to Heidegger, in its valuable relation with the essential cause, which is the cause of the being and its reality, is the home of the being or the home of the existence. According to Pierce, who sees all the world’s elements as signs and symbols, language is an existence in the place and the infinity. For Bloomfield, language itself is a behavior. Benveniste defines the language as “an interpretation system which can do the same functions that can be done by any other system either in linguistics or non linguistics” (Chandler, 2008: p. 34) . Derrida sees the language as the center of existence, from which the universe can be seen and that’s why he “calls for a new vision of the language, a vision that transfer reality to a set of rhetorical masks, as the language is what creates our concepts about the world and founds science, philosophy and metaphysics (Ibrahim et al., 1990: p. 139) , Derrida also calls for “the free use of language being an infinitive series of different meanings (Ibrahim et al., 1990: p. 33) . For Habermas, language is the best solution for understanding, for that reason he considers language, in his effective communication theory, as the base to building his philosophical project to communication action, he also considers the daily language in particular, the proper communication space for expression and dialogue.

Therefore, language can be the first anchor for marginalized and excluded people, and their way to being understood and recognized. It can be noticed nowadays that the language used in blogs and communication links on the internet is the daily language, to which we refer to as the popular language, to produce and exchange meaning to the extent that, in many cultural spaces and to that amount, it is used frequently and its growing “popularity” has transferred the standard language, either Arabic or otherwise, to a strange system that is not used, whether in spoken or written use, and with the conditions of communication. Being the most probable to achieving effective commu- nication, popular language is now used by media in general. It became common to say: “this is the language of media”, as an expression of its simplicity, easy vocabulary and the absence of complications, more important, it is using wrong structures and grammar. The popular language, in some Arab countries, is even used at school and university classes to be a way of communication, learning and teaching. I remember that my students at a GCC university were complaining about my using the standard Arabic language in my classes, they even thought it was a Tunisian dialect, as I am coming from Tunisia, that they are not familiar with, they even ended up signing a petition and submitting it to the dean of faculty demanding to change the “language” or change the professor.

This “easy” language that is filling the blogs and news sites attracts an entire generation. We can see that this language in its popularity and simple structures is not very different from the romantic literature language that is distinguished by its absolute emotions, ease of expression and free of ornate styles, as we can see in the work of Baudelaire, Musset or Hugo. Reading Flowers of Evil (Baudelaire, 1862) , for example, one can see, firstly, originality and genuine intentions, which is a feature that distinguishes the romantic literature, and is used by Baudelaire to express sin and evil. One can also see the free, diversified linguistic records which combined the common with the strange and the sophisticated with the rude. Reading “Les Miserable’s” (Hugo, 1862) , one can be attracted to the diversity and contradiction in the verbal and stylistic features of the writing. Lamartine views “Les Miserable’s” as a double risk, on one hand, it scares the happy and on the other hand, it brings hope to the miserable.

1) Boudourou Blog 2: A Tunisian blog, about the media in Tunisia, and deals, as mentioned in its convention in publishing “bad articles and voting, on a monthly basis, for the worst article, which is a chance for bloggers to vote for: the worst newspaper, the worst article and the worse journalist”. It clearly aims to uncover the media deviations in Tunisia on the spaces for opinions and criticism in linguistic recodes in Standard and popular Arabic, records that contain French, and sometimes English terms and sentences.

“Boudourou” means in spoken Tunisian dialect, cheap and in some contexts it means mean and despicable. “Boudourou good” means in the common Tunisian dialect, low- quality or duplicated goods. The origin of the word is “Dourou” which is a popular name for a local currency made not of gold or silver and equals 5 Tunisian pennies. For many decades now Dourou has no value as a currency since you cannot buy anything with a Dourou as a result of high prices and living costs, and became, for the public, a symbol of law value in all fields, the indication of which is transferred from the economic aspect to the cultural and intellectual aspects.

Paying attention to some nicknames of the members of the Editorial Board of this blog, one can assume that they were inspired by the nature of blogging as a communication tool that is free of material and symbolic rules, more important, that it comes in harmony with the romantic soul planted in the heart of new media, it is the voice of one of the clearest characteristics of the romantic sense in general i.e. an individual’s freedom.

One of the nicknames is “Free-Race” and it indicates that there are no rules in this game. The first part of the nickname implies the freedom from all rules as was one of the most distinguished characteristics of eighteenth century Romanticism. The nickname has another indication in the French language, the first part is the English word “Free” and the second is the French word for “Race”. The implication in the common Tunisian dialect, in its phonetic structure, means “Head” (Ra’s in Arabic) (Tete in French). The conclusion is the structure of this nickname implies, in different meaning, the behavior that is free from all rules. Romanticism was based on freedom and rejection of all kinds of limitations. It is worth mentioning here that one of the most important definitions of Romanticism is the revolution on classical values.

Another nickname is “Clandestino”, a word of a Latin origin (Clandestinus). The first part (Clan) means secretly and hidden, the second part is “Destino” which means pointed, refer and determine. The word “Clandestino” means in many languages undercover or in violation with society’s rules, it also means out of control, which is the most present and common meaning. The general meaning of the word does not vary much from one Latin origin language to another i.e. French (Clandestino), Italian (Clandestino), Spanish (Clandestino) and English (Clandestine). The indication of this name, as stated by its holder in his profile, is that he is “living as (Clandestine) in his own country” (Clandestin dans mon pays) blog 3, i.e. hidden and unable, on the cultural and political levels, to practice freedom to express his opinion as the prevailing culture is the “Center” culture, which rejects diversity and differences. The nickname holder, under such conditions, is achieving his individual freedom by rejecting the rules and laws that are restricting the media and communication by expressing himself under a secret identity.

Language is a horizon of freedom of expression. Effective communication and understanding are achieved in language as we previously showed when referring to the importance of language in Habermas’s philosophical project for social communication. Language “is not just a mean for message between, at least, two persons” (Abdeslam, 1986: 36) , it is more than that, its function, according to Sapir, is not excluded on communication, it can symbolize the world it represents and then it can be an imaginative power that affects the users of that language” (Ibrahim et al., 1990: p. 49) , it is the space where the cultural, intellectual and ideological trends are determined. Language in liberal democracy is the actual guide for political life, that is why, in Totalitarianism, free expression, as a linguistic practice, is having a clandestine nature, because it encourages, according to Henry Bergson (Stancati, 2001) , the inner ego to take the form of social ego. The second model of blogs illustrates this dimension by extending in the communication between the inner ego and the social ego.

2) Bahki w Bass (Just talking) Blog 4: Sudanese blog, the founder of which describes it as a blog that “tell the truth, aiming to achieve positive change and repel against the defragment reality, supports peace and people solidarity”. The blog in its actions describes its functions: (Supports Peace)-(Aims to change)-(Repels against reality), is having similar communicative purposes characteristics of those of the pervious blog, both blogs aiming to change the reality by means of free expression. The name of the blog has an interesting meaning (Just talking) for having dual indicative structure; direct and implicit. The direct meaning refers to the fact it is just a talk and nothing more. The implicit meaning refers that the speaker is aware of the importance of his words, worries about its consciences, and trying to avoid responsibility for such consciences. The two indications meet in warping transferring the inner ego into the social ego in a way that cannot happen without the power of language. The first ego is written and it’s the most important, sociologically being the basis of the intellectual material of the blog and it indicates self-awareness. The second ego is verbal and it is what identified the intellectual material of the blog: (Just talking). Between the written and the verbal there are many implicit symbols of self conditions in the spoken words indicating the spoken words in the written ones, as seen by Aristotle. Again, we can see self centralization being the main source of information as a submitter and a receiver of information at the same time.

3) Egypt Awareness Blog 5: The founder and chief editor of this blog describe it as “the mood of its self-employed founder”. At the very beginning the founder defines the absolute ego as described by Fichte being an unconditional body from which everything starts and forms. According to Fichte the ego is the origin of the pure action that inspires its effectiveness from its will and continuous moral actions.

The center of the ego is supported by the sentence “Self-employed” which means (I am the master of myself and I’m not pro to anyone) which when deconstruct means (the center of dominance) and it includes absolute freedom of dependence, which normally leads to change in behavior (destruction of boundaries) to protect his civil identity which indicates the growth of dominance regimes in Egypt and all Arab and world societies on different levels. The blogger is trying to change the equation by changing the center to protect his individual behavior that represents Egypt’s awareness. As a result of such change individuals become the center which creates meanings, since new media’s system is chaotic it allows multi-centralization and allows individuals to become centers that are capable to reconstruct communication rules which is one of the characteristics of the new media Romanticism i.e. transformation of individuals to be truly effective in drawing the lines of reality and creating meanings which have been for a long time run only by the Political state institution.

Due to the chaotic nature of new media, a new type of intellectual and political commitment is aiming to shake the institutional image of social reality that is leading to a new structure of diverse reality. The first generation of romantics (Chateaubriand, Lamartine and Hugo) had the same kind of commitment leading them to be deeply sensually involved in their time’s political life, representing in their intellectual and artistic heritage the dilemmas of a worried, depressed and miserable generation. Therefore, in the individual mass media system, the individual’s ego transforms into a strong, ideologically and intellectually, phenomenon that represents the group’s ego as it is the case of the Egypt Awareness Blog, where an “individual” replaces the “group” leading the individual to represent the group awareness and the causes of people and society. Table 1 illustrates the major interests of intellectual and sociological causes in the aforementioned blogs, where the individual ego replaced the group ego as an indication that self-centralization was meant to shake the absolute truth dominant systems.

It can be noticed that blogging’s language varies between the classical Arabic and the spoken dialects, but the use of the spoken dialects is more common, that might be due to the fact that it is closely connected with people’s reality i.e. it is a symbol of reality, not because it is more capable of expressing the familiar from people’s lives, on the contrary standard Arabic is the one that is more capable of doing that, and not because it is strongly committed to people’s issues, as the commitment issue is created by the free will of individuals on which a certain behavior is based on deciding on people’s attitudes and opinions. The popular language, deeply rooted in people’s society, represents the status where decryption and encryption meet within the social communications links.

6. Deconstructing the Rules

Romanticism comes as a free school with the goal to shake the classical values in more than one field, establishing a new rhetoric that absorbs sense and imagination instead of mind. Rousseau (Rousseau, 1776) says: “Imagination opens the possibilities horizon and feeds desires hoping to achieve it” (Rousseau, 1762: p. 151) . It is clear that romanticism is a self and troubles focusing and first of all, a revolution against the old.

Nowadays, romanticism is heavily present in the field of new media, affected by its craziness and revolutionary: the structure of media and communication rules that are distinguishing the institutional mass media, the rules on which the types of journalistic writing styles in visual and written media that are resembling the eighteenth century romanticism which destructed the rules of classical theater. The journalistic writing style, in new media, is free of linguistic and technical control and rules regulating meaning structure in different media means, to become a public popular “common” affordable by those who have the minimum level of digital skills. For example, in the “Egypt Awareness” blog, we can see how the blogger broadcasts the minimum wages protests without complying with T.V. reportage rules within a series of technical and theoretical structures forming the fundamental reportage structure i.e. angels, axils, testimonies, referrals, controlling scenes and camera movements, pictures angles, lights, sounds and mix age.

The journalistic writing rules has partly disappeared from mass media but still the

Table 1. The romanticism trend in the new media: elements and manifestations.

Blogs model.

distinguished characteristic of the individual mass media which played a central role in media coverage of the Arab revolutions. The interesting television scenes become the one reported by public individuals “in the popular language” being the not only a linguistic event but also in a visual expression when television videos become available for public who own video cameras.

The “popular” images broadcasted by news channels 24 over 24 are technically weak with very low quality, most of the time as if they were taken using unprofessional tools, in context where there is no, as known in cinema and television vocabulary, photo shooting angle, in this context all angles are “good” to broadcast reality events as long as the center of the main broadcasting issue is the social event itself which highlights the dominant ideology deeply rooted in the society, as opposed to the mass media equations which highlight the power of ideology and ignore the social event. Highlighting ideology needs in such case to be completely in control of the grammar of the image i.e. shots scope and photo angle, as it is aiming to “distortion” of reality in a way that fits the broadcaster’s ideology. The latter, is what official Arab media adopt when broadcasting Arab revolution. Even the reality of the social aspects were covered by the media industry claiming the promise of “change ideology” and implementing in “installments” or in full when necessary, and condemning conspiracy theory: deposed presidents and those threaten to be deposed unanimously agreed that there is an external conspiracy against their regimes. The clear indication of this unanimous vote is that the ideology reaction towards sociological parts of social reality is always aiming to cover the reality which uncovers its components.

The “popular” images that broadcasted the revolutions’ events did not require any kind of grammar. It flowed like the spoken words in the popular linguistic speech and common dialects free of any grammar documenting the reality lived by the society.

However, in contrary to the nature of the lab images that can be called “the Standard images”, it seems to be filled with, what is known in the Drama field, Dramatic tension. Mediatically, it is more exciting than lab images which are subject to technical and linguistic editing. Popular images are open and not, as Umberto Eco described media texts, are closed (Chandler, 2008: p. 290) , they are open images that are broadcasting a reality that is subject to disorder at any time. They are images free of stylistic terms and control, which make it a speech, in a Marxian way, and explain the start of ideological events that prevail in society without being itself a visible follower of an opponent ideology.

The “public” or “popular images” give the impression of building a social identity in the media speech, growing its importance for the masses not only for being a timely broadcaster of revolutions events in a sour way, either in Tunisia or Egypt or anywhere else in the Arab world, but also for having been emerged from popular culture.

The popular culture was full of social struggle ignored by mass media for decades, till the time the recognition means were available in cyber nets to uncover the hidden and broadcast the prohibited. This popular culture attracted the attention of classic media which traced it and invested it in exceptional cases, where some Arabic news channels broadcasted the popular images to cover the events in the actual geographical locations. Access to event filed is achieved by searching social websites on the cyber net documenting the popular culture and the representative of all kinds of social struggle.

Broadcasting the events of the aforementioned protests in Egypt was in a popular way with no journalism rules but a flow of “popular images” as the spoken words-flow in the daily communication links. Although it might not be free of the style, technical and rhetorical measures in all cases, the central purpose of the broadcast not measuring reality with the professional media standards when all met together, it covers a new face of reality due to the changing nature of reality depending on the rules of producing meaning. The purpose of the broadcast is to re-produce reality according to psychological self standards, as a form of fighting against the rhetorical and linguistic games exercised by the institutional media in making reality.

It sounds like, in this context, the disorder in journalism writing and the abandonment of journalistic rules in new media’s system is an exercise that makes reality more realizable. Following grammar and expression rules might make it more distant to uncover reality or might lead to polysemie of interpretation of meanings. We realize then how the popular language became an essential indictor of interaction in communicative activities being the mean where interest in reality is direct but it is subject to distortion if the rules and grammar became the first concern of media and communication channels. In this latter case, attention to reality is reached through attention to writing rules.

The nineteenth century Romanticism was a way to forget the presence by means of dream and imagination, the twenty first century Romanticism seems, or it is, strongly involved in presence despite the complaints and tries to escape the fraud reality created by institutional mass communications. It could have been more involved, if the developed hypothetical systems that pushed the imagination to the furthest limits were available, in dreams and imagination than the eighteenth century. The new technology did not push Romanticism, which strongly appears in new media, to deny reality, although it is capable of doing that with its digital tools that merged the present, the future and the past, but it helped to fragment reality’s elements and gave the ability to restructure and build it, it acted as a “vision machine” not in the way meant by Paul Virilio (Virilio, 2001) but in the meaning that it became the technology for covering and uncovering at the same time.

One of the interesting paradoxes of new media and communication technology is that, in spite of its greatly developed elements, it brought strong locality to the heart of media and communication fields where McLuhan’s village vanished and replaced by a new clan and tribal system, it is the return of tribes and emotions in Michel Maffesoli’s thinking; musical, national, sport and religious tribes… (Maffesoli, 2000) , within which a popular language flew to express attention to individuality and locality, and revealed one of the main characteristics of Romanticism. Blogs and social websites clearly showed this characteristic, in our estimation; it acted as the “Big Bang” to announce it.

Cite this paper

Hidri, A. (2016). Media Romanticism: The New Public Sphere. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 4, 149-162.


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