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Postal Communication as a Social Network

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Abstract

This chapter explores the geography of postal practices. The early nineteenth-century establishment of centralized state postal services, the expansion of literacy, and the reduction in paper and mailing costs gave rise to a popular and public postal system. This postal system and more importantly the people’s postal practices created epistolary spaces, which lay in-between a ‘real’ world of material infrastructures and institutions and an ‘imagined’ world, in which distances shrink and the far horizons seem near. Even more than the spaces of mobility described in Chapters 8 and 9, epistolary spaces are born of free will rather than physical, ideological, or imagined constraints; they define people’s ‘territory.’

Why in the world haven’t you been writing me?

Wilhelm Tieck 1

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Segal, Z.M. (2019). Postal Communication as a Social Network. In: The Political Fragmentation of Germany. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19827-5_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19827-5_10

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

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