Here is a breezy summary of someof Marshall McLuhan's ideas about media determinism vis-a-vis our class today.
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The Mechanical Bride (1951)
The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1960)
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964)
The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967)
“The theory Marshall McLuhan advanced has been called technological determinism. As with any deterministic theory, the basic claim is that some single cause or phenomenon determines other aspects of life” (237).
“The theory of technological determinism states that technology – specifically, media – decisively shapes how individuals think, feel, and act and how societies organize themselves and operate” (238).
The Tribal Epoch
The Literate Epoch
The Print Epoch
The Electronic Epoch
Some characteristics of the tribal epoch:
Speech developed by homo-sapiens 20,000-40,000 years ago.
Orality, Aurality, and tactility
Immersion and Simultaneity
Some characteristics of the literate epoch:
The invention of the alphabet in Greece, 1000 B.C.
Some characteristics of the print epoch:
The invention of the printing press in Germany, 1450 AD.
Everything that was mentioned for the literate epoch, but on a larger scale.
The emergence of the middle-class.
Some characteristics of the electronic epoch:
Revival of Oralality/Aurality and Tactility.
The “global village.”
The Medium is the…
The medium is the message.
The medium determines the content of communication.
The medium is the massage.
The medium has the power to manipulate our perceptions of the world.
The medium is the mass-age.
Mass communication has become the dominant form of interaction.
The Medium is the Message
Some examples of how messages are crafted to conform to the medium.
Film and TV action/violence.
Windows interface and “multitasking.”
The hypertext book.
TOOL audio recording: “Die Eier Von Satan”
Media: Hot and Cool
Hot Media “are those that include relatively complete sensory data. Thus, a person doesn’t need to fill in a lot of information to understand the message” (242).
Cool Media, on the other hand, demand involvement from individuals” (242).