McLuhan 1/12

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McLuhan 1/12

  1. 1. Key Concepts in McLuhan<br />(and a few critiques)<br />
  2. 2. The Medium is the Message<br />“Societies have always been shaped more by the <br />nature of the media by which men communicate <br />than by the content of the communication.” <br />(Is this true? Maybe yes, maybe no. But this <br />claim does help us ask new and interesting <br />questions about media)<br />
  3. 3. Media Ecology in a Nutshell<br />“Media by altering the environment, invoke in us <br />unique ratios of sense perceptions. The <br />extension of any one sense alters the way we <br />think and act—the way we perceive the world.” <br />
  4. 4. Analyzing Media Ecology<br />What key technologies make up our “media <br /> environment”?<br />How would our “sense ratios” be altered if we <br /> took one of these technologies away?<br />How has one of these technologies influenced <br /> your family, your education, your job, your <br /> connection with people beyond your cultural group?<br />
  5. 5. Book Design Enacts the Theory<br />Associative Rather than Linear Logic (juxtaposition)<br />Images convey substantial meaning (in combination with words).<br />Challenges are traditional embodied habits of reading (calls attention to the conventions of books we normally take for granted)<br />
  6. 6. Orality (Stage one for McLuhan)<br />The Ear is dominant.<br />More focus on the group than the “individual”; there is little “specialization”; time is not regimented.<br />Culture is local (limited by distance)<br />McLuhan tends classify all periods before the 15th century invention of print as primarily oral (even though writing was invented long before that)<br />
  7. 7. Printing / Painting (15th century – early twentieth)<br />Emphasis on “individual” self (silent reader).<br />Thinking becomes more linear (rather than associative).<br />Time becomes more regimented<br />Knowledge becomes specialized.<br />Culture expands to “publics” (readers who share the same language and live in same broad nation / region.<br />
  8. 8. Electronic Media<br />Returns us to the communal, connected, non specialized understanding of knowledge in oral cultures.<br />The “ear” becomes more important again (though the visual image remains important too)<br />The limited “public” now becomes the global “mass culture.<br />Influenced by Walter Ong’s “Secondary Orality”<br />
  9. 9. Did McLuhan’s Vision Come True?<br />Did electronic media change our view of crime as an individual failing to be punished?<br />Have everyday people become more deeply engaged in politics and government?<br />Has specialization gone away from education and work?<br />Is the distinction between oral, print, and electronic cultures really as consequential as McLuhan thinks?<br />Do we really live in a “global village”?<br />
  10. 10. 1.6 Billion people live w/out electricity<br />

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