Mcluhan Review

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Mcluhan Review

  1. 1. “ The Medium is the Message” Marshall McLuhan (1964) Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man AGM @ University of Washington, M.C. Digital Media 10.30.07
  2. 2. Video
  3. 3. Who was McLuhan? <ul><li>1911-1980 </li></ul><ul><li>Canadian </li></ul><ul><li>English Professor </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by the 60s: flower power, Joyce, French philosophers, painters, avant-garde filmmakers, MIT scholars </li></ul><ul><li>Complex prose, open to interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Loved word play… quote generator ! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key Points <ul><li>McLuhan refutes the notion that machines’ value depend on their use, because it ignores the nature of the machine </li></ul><ul><li>What are the psychic & social impacts of the machine? </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ Machines are extensions of Man” <ul><li>E.g: Clothes are an extension of skin </li></ul><ul><li>Humans create machines to automate human activities </li></ul><ul><li>Machines amplify or accelerate existing human processes </li></ul><ul><li>Machines have a purpose, a set function and therefore an inherent nature </li></ul>“ The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale”
  6. 6. Paradox of Mechanization <ul><li>Mechanization is a major cause of growth and change </li></ul><ul><li>But the principles of mechanization refute learning and understanding of change </li></ul><ul><li>Automations or mechanizations are superficial, fragmented, and centralized patterns </li></ul>
  7. 7. “ The content of a medium is always another medium” <ul><li>The content of: the telegraph = written word = speech = non verbal thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Except for the electric light in pure form </li></ul><ul><li>Electric Light only has content when used for something </li></ul><ul><li>The “content” of a medium, blinds us to its “character ” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Related Article <ul><li>Book review of “the method is the message: rethinking McLuhan” </li></ul><ul><li>Author Shaw (1999) says this is a valuable book that tries to get beyond a simple dismissal </li></ul><ul><li>Argues McLuhan was a “humanist technologist” </li></ul><ul><li>Supports argument by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explaining McLuhan’s philosophical approach to be “intersubjective” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assuming that McLuhan was searching for human agency when technology changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploring McLuhan influences and links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Placing McLuhan in historical context (modernist & postmodernist thinking) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Reactions <ul><li>Deemed as “Technology Determinist” </li></ul><ul><li>Some say he was misinterpreted </li></ul><ul><li>His theory has been reduced to quotes out of context </li></ul><ul><li>Not all of McLuhan is irrelevant </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Questions <ul><li>What do you think of McLuhan’s theory? </li></ul><ul><li>How is McLuhan relevant today? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you apply McLuhan to the Internet? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the content of the Internet? </li></ul><ul><li>How does McLuhan compare to other theories discussed in class? </li></ul>

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