The Dichtung und Rundfunk Conference: Medial Configurations of Speech Networks

Cyril de Beun

Abstract


Amid the sociopolitical turmoil of 1920s Germany, speech delivery rapidly became a popular practice among writers. Many speeches were given in (semi-)public assemblies, one striking example being the Dichtung und Rundfunk (Literature and Radio) conference. Although attended by significant writers and radio pioneers, this conference has received little scru- tiny in the literature so far. This article seeks to fill this gap by investigating the communica- tive characteristics of the speeches that were held there. In the resulting examination, the Dichtung und Rundfunk conference is categorised as a network of interacting speeches. Its fundamental ‘speech dialogues’ lent a sense of communicative directness to the conference. However, this complex network required a discursive lingua franca to allow a direct confron- tation between the differing, if not opposing, views that were expressed by the speakers. This common code is identified through the use of Link’s interdiscourse theory, which shows the interdiscursive language to be the collective symbol of radio or, indeed, the conference theme itself. In addition, the article traces the interaction between speeches in the network back to the essence of any single writer’s speech. In essence, the speech connects culture and, more specifi- cally, literature to society. This in-between position resembles the function of interdiscourses, which reintegrate the segmented fields of societies and the specialised discourses associated with them. Thus, the Dichtung und Rundfunk conference serves as a test case for a study of the triangular relationship between the writer’s speech, new media and interdiscourses. This study ultimately comes to the conclusion that the writer’s speech operates as one of the most interdiscursive platforms for the exchange of opinions. 


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ISSN: 1904-500X

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