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Savigny Verlagsgesellschaft

Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Germanistische Abteilung

Ed. by Oestmann, Peter / Rückert, Joachim / Haferkamp, Hans-Peter

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Volume 132, Issue 1


VII. Schriftlichkeit, Papier und Recht. Zum Wandel der Speichermedien in Moderne und Postmoderne – eine Skizze

Stephan Meder
Published Online: 2015-07-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.7767/zrgga-2015-0110

Writing, Paper and Law. Concerning the Transition in Storage Media in the Modern and Postmodern Eras - a Sketch. At present, certain fields of law experience a media transformation, which is well underway. As at the threshold of the late Middle Ages and the Early Modern era, the transfer of money and payment plays a leading role. But what is, intrinsically, this media transition? Legal history proofs that principles of the written form had taken effect already in the ancient world rather than only in the Early Modern era. The invention of letterpress printing was neither cause nor trigger of the written form, while influencing the theory of the close of writing: The “demise of writing” is not to be expected, as the current transition does not concern the writing itself but rather the storage medium. New legal development stems from the emancipation of writing from paper. Today, the role of the printed book in the future, or whether there will still be bank notes, or bank statement printers, and how notaries will certify marriage contracts, or last wills, or company agreements, is uncertain. Surely, the “materiality” of paper has a wider time horizon than electronic storage media. Paper can be restored. It stays without continuous new formatting. As for literacy, the enhancement of the mobile phone on keyboards and screens (“the eye’s victory over the ear”) is also a victory of writing over the spoken word. Therefore we may expect paper to stay important, but within a diversification of information storage media.

Keywords: orality; literacy; storage media; transition; demise of writing

About the article

Published Online: 2015-07-06

Published in Print: 2015-08-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte: Germanistische Abteilung, Volume 132, Issue 1, Pages 219–250, ISSN (Online) 2304-4861, ISSN (Print) 0323-4045, DOI: https://doi.org/10.7767/zrgga-2015-0110.

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© 2015 by Böhlau Verlag GmbH & Co.KG.

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