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Reconceptualising ‘Time’ and ‘Space’ in the Era of Electronic Media and Communications

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This paper examines to what extent electronic media and communications have contributed to currently changing concepts of time and space and how crucial their role is in experiencing temporality, spatiality and mobility. The paper argues that media and communication technologies play a complex part in shifting conceptions of time and space, without diminishing to insignificance the concepts of time and space or subjective experiences of them. On the contrary, by challenging established conceptual approaches to time and space, electronic media could be considered to 'mediate' time and space, problematising the multi-layered significance of how they are experienced today. The paper is divided into three sections. First, it presents theoretical approaches to time and space, and it discusses the two seemingly contrasting approaches of 'time-space distanciation' and 'time-space compression'. Second, it develops a historical analysis of the ways in which media have empirically modified the concepts of time and space, and it discusses the examples of 'internet time' and new 'electronic spaces' to challenge the argument of temporal simultaneity and non-significance of space in the new digital era, respectively. Viewing the historical changes of space in particular as intimately linked to the shifting conceptualisation of place, the third section examines the emergence of a perception of place as 'non-place', whilst it argues in favour of the counterthesis of a mediated sense of place. In this regard, the paper espouses the thesis that electronic communications have succeeded in interconnecting remote places without eliminating their importance.


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