Volume 92, Issue 14

Friday, September 25, 1998

it was sugar


Carleton prof discusses modern state of New York

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

The faculty of information and media studies introduced the first of a series of guest speakers to the university yesterday at the Biological and Geological Sciences Building to speak on the topic of labour in cyberspace.

Vincent Mosco, professor of communication at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, attempted to enlighten the minds of Western students with his talk entitled "The Making of a Post-Industrial Monoculture: New York.com."

Mosco, an internationally recognized authority on the political economy of media, discussed the transformation of New York City from an industrial-rich area in the 1950s to a present-day global communication centre.

According to Mosco, the introduction of the media and technological industry was a cause in the massive downfall of New York's manufacturing centres which had previously created an abundance of blue collar jobs. "Office spaces drove out factories," he said.

"In 40 years, [the city] lost 75 per cent of its manufacturing jobs."

The rebirth of the city, according to Mosco, began with the takeover of various areas by districts which incorporated new media such as advertising, television, broadcasting, mass entertainment and fashion. "The city was reborn from the ashes of its past," he said.

Mosco described Silicon Alley, a district which helped transform New York to the place it is today and which houses various new media companies, made up of conglomerates such as Time/Warner Company and General Electric/National Broadcast Corporation.

According to Mosco, these conglomerates have displaced certain aspects of New York's communities. Battery Park City, for example, invited high-tech industries into its area by reshaping its image.

A business improvement district was created to assist in the maintenance of the new districts and police the high-tech areas, to keep them free from those who do not belong, such as the homeless.

The trouble, however, becomes that the conglomerates use their power to create monopolies and thus have more financial stability than even the government, Mosco said. "[The districts] are turning public space into private usage."

Although the image of New York's districts are impressive now, Mosco said he believes it is only a matter of time until history will repeat itself.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998