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Maintaining Connections
Octo- and Nonagenarians on Digital ‘Use and Non-use’

Abstract

The concepts of user and non-user are frequently deployed within media and communications literature. What do these terms mean if examined regarding age and ageing? In this article we explore and trouble these notions through an analysis of twenty-two conversations with a group of octogenarians and nonagenarians living in a retirement home. Their descriptions of their changing uses of media througout lifetime, and their encounters with mobile phones, computers, newspapers, television, radio and landline phones, are presented as a set of ‘techno-biographies’ that challenge binary divisions of use and non-use, linear notions of media adoption, and add texture to the idea of ‘the fourth age’ as a time of life bereft of decisional power. Speaking with octogenarians and nonagenarians provides insights into media desires, needs and uses, and opens up ‘non-use’ as a complex, variegated activity, rather than a state of complete inaction or disinterest.

Open access
Nordic Openness in Practice
Loose Coupling of Government Communication and Policy-making in Finland

Abstract

Due to the tradition of ‘Nordic openness’, and intensified by international trends, the norm of policy-making transparency is strong in Finland. Inspired by organizational institutionalism, the present article studies what this notion of transparency means in practice. A case study of a social security reform committee is presented. The consensus-building practices typical of Finnish corporatist policy-making significantly constrained the transparency of government communication during the lifetime of the committee. The government communicated actively in public to meet the demand for transparency; but in order to secure effective bargaining, the government communicated issues concerning the committee so vaguely that it did not inspire wide public discussion. Public discussion was instead mainly fuelled by leaks. These findings suggest that a strong norm of transparency can lead to ceremonial transparency, where government public communication is loosely coupled with policy-making practices. These ceremonies might strengthen the notion of Nordic openness.

Open access
The Occurrence of the Broadside Ballad Ó, radost má [Oh, My Joy] Among Folk Songs

Abstract

The broadside ballad O, radost ma [Oh, My Joy] was, as far as known, first printed in Kutna Hora in 1808. Later, it began to be sung to an unprecedented number of different tunes, inspired by folk and semi-folk songs, broadside ballads, church and artificial songs. Sometimes, the tune even literally quoted the folk melody. Variants of the song continued to appear in all Czech regions throughout the 20th century. In the Chodsko region, the song has become popular and has been sung as a folk song to this day.

Open access
The Library of Jiří Ribay and the Potential for Further Research

Abstract

The article deals with the book collection of Jiří Ribay, the structure of his ownership notes (on the title page in the form of ‘Jiřího Ribay’, the year of purchase and the price), extant book catalogues from 1800 and 1803, and the copies preserved in institutional libraries in Europe. It has been shown on specific examples how Ribay acquired his books and how he sold some of the books still in his lifetime (e.g. to Mikuláš Jankovič in 1807). Research into archival documents has revealed some new information on how the former National and University Library in Prague acquired a part of Ribay’s books in 1857. The end of the paper outlines the potential use of a complete edition and a new treatment of Ribay’s catalogues for the history of book culture, retrospective bibliography and literary history.

Open access