One of the effects of the history of twentieth-century information technology is to push the meaning of the word Mitteilung into a progressively more technological framework, where it becomes synonymous with the one-way transmission of information from sender to receiver. As a correction to that more recent history, this essay traces the ambivalent structure of Mitteilung through the work of Søren Kierkegaard and Walter Benjamin. Both Kierkegaard and Benjamin, the essay argues, treat Mitteilung (and its Danish equivalent, Meddelelse) as inherently ambiguous, as a socially complex field of sharing, interaction, and exchange. In this way they show, first, that Mitteilung's conceptual history includes (rather than erases or negates) the oppositional forces between one-way and dialogic communication and, second, that the deep intellectual and social appeal of information extends well beyond its modern theory, technology, or proliferation into its so-called age.


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pp. 308-327
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