The Business of News


In the seventeenth century news was an investment in social relationships, a resource that concerned the interests of members of functional elites. Exchanging news entailed different forms of participation in functional elites and, thus, privilege. This business was part of the elites’ internal social structures; it constituted the fabric of all public institutions.
This book questions notions of a print-based public sphere in the seventeenth century. It is based on contemporary tracts on newspapers, the court culture, and letter-writers, as well as news correspondences and other material from archives in the Baltic Sea Region and beyond.

This book is a translation of: Das Geschäft mit Nachrichten: Ein barocker Markt für soziale Ressourcen (Bremen: edition lumière, 2018).

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Heiko Droste, Ph.D. (1994, University of Hamburg) is Professor of Urban History at Stockholm University. He has published monographs and articles on German, Swedish and Baltic history in late medieval and early modern times.
List of Figures

1 News in the Era of the Printing Press
 1 The Definition of News
 2 The Market for News
 3 Jürgen Habermas and Rudolf Schlögl
 4 Disembedding and Institutionalization
 5 Particularistic News
 6 Intermediary Reflections
 7 Previous Research
 8 The Archive as a Research Problem

2 Infrastructure
 1 Financing
 2 Cities as Interfaces in the News Market
 3 Infrastructure and Exchange of News
 4 Case Study: Communication between Hamburg and the Baltic Sea Region
 5 Centre and Periphery
 6 To Trade News for Money
 7 The Income from Hand-Written Newspapers around 1700
 8 The Income of the Newspaper Publishers according to Sabine Welke

3 The Newspaper in Seventeenth-Century Tracts
 1 The Public News
 2 The Definition of the Newspaper
 3 Newspaper and Historiography
 4 Newspapers as a Medium of Education
 5 Intermediary Reflections
 6 Particularistic Newspapers
 7 The Didactic Functions of the Newsletter

4 News Agents
 1 Conditions under Which the News Agent Functioned
 2 Collective Biography of the Official Swedish News Agents
 3 Merchants as News Agents
 4 The Envoys
 5 Refugees and Exiles

5 Postmasters
 1 Johan and Johan Gustaf von Beijer
 2 Swedish Postal Commissioners
 3 The Booksellers of the City of Lübeck

Epilogue: The Baroque and the Contemporary News Market
All interested in European media history in early modern times, all with an interest in early modern processes of socialisation and institutionalisation, cultural sociology.
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