Is technology the message?

67 %
33 %
Information about Is technology the message?

Published on March 18, 2009

Author: chrischesher



Lecture slides on McLuhan lecture for ARIN2600 Technocultures at the University of Sydney. This explores McLuhan's probing approach to media, which positions technology as an extension of human faculties. By implication, changes in media / technology change what it is to be human. McLuhan remains a controversial, but influential figure in media and new media studies.

Is the technology the message? Lecture 3, 2009 ARIN2600 Technocultures Chris Chesher Digital Cultures University of Sydney

Marshall McLuhan • 1911–1980 Mechanical Bride (1951) Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) Understanding Media (1964) Medium is the massage (1967) Laws of Media with Eric McLuhan (1988)

The Medium is the Message

Media determinism • ‘Civilisations’ change with media change • Media extend human faculties • Media and thought are closely bound • inverts disembodiment of information to argue that medium is all-pervading • Switches between figure and ground • From Communication to Medium

Gutenberg Galaxy: Oral/Aural culture • Individuals are connected to their environment & community • Magical, emotional • Empathy and participation • Rituals and memorisation • Integration of the senses • Resistance to change

The spoken word was the first technology by which man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way…

Print culture • Private individual • independent of environment • Possessive individualism • Uniformity and homogenisation • Alphabet + uniformity of print • Specialisation • Detachment • fixed point of view

Electric age • Instantaneity — allatonceness • Decline in linear thinking • Instant connections; multi-tasking • Less specialisation • Retribalisation • Aware of others watching

The effects of new media on our sensory lives are similar to the effects of new poetry. They change not our thoughts but the structure of our world.

What is intellectual work? • For McLuhan… • Aphorisms & epigrams • Hyperbole & epochal generalisations • pattern recognition not Classification • probes more than concepts • Teacher / public intellectual (academic as media event)

Annie Hall (1977)

New media are new archetypes, at first disguised as degradations of older media. These degradations happen when new media inevitably use old media as content. Using the older ones as content hastens the tidying up process by which a medium becomes an art form (1964)

Understanding several media simultaneously is the best way of approaching any one of them. Any study of one medium helps us to understand all others


The tetrad quot;What does the artifact ENHANCE or intensify or make possible or quot;If some aspect of a situation is accelerate? This can be asked enlarged or enhanced, ENHANCE OBSOLESCE concerning a wastebasket, a simultaneously the old condition or painting, a steamroller, or a zipper, unenhanced situation is displaced as well as about a proposition in thereby. What is pushed aside or Euclid or a law of physics. It can be OBSOLESCED by the new 'organ'?quot; asked about any word or phrase in any language.quot; quot;What recurrence or RETRIEVAL of When pushed to the limits of its earlier actions and services is potential (another complementary brought into play simultaneously by action), the new form will tend to RETRIEVE REVERSE the new form? What older, reverse what had been its original previously obsolesced ground is characteristics. What is the brought back and inheres in the new REVERSAL potential of the new form?quot; form?quot;

Video • McLuhan’s Wake • directed by Kevin McMahon. • narrated by Laurie Anderson

Overall focus of this unit of study… 1. How do technology and culture relate? • How does technological change affect perception / society / reality? 2. How can we study technology and culture? • ontology, epistemology • methodologies • disciplinary influences • theoretical abstractions

McLuhan’s influences and legacies

Innis • 1894-1952 • Space-binding media • Empire-building • Time-binding media • ‘plea for time’

Paul Levinson • McLuhan follower • sees McLuhan’s work fulfilled in digital media • Darwinian theory of media change • libertarian politics

Media professor/expert Paul Levinson on new media influence (excerpt_

Other branches of thought influenced by McLuhan • James Carey Walter Ong • + culture +Orality and • Baudrillard literacy • + political economy Joshua Meyrowitz • Wired magazine +social space • ‘Patron saint’ Raymond Williams • critic of McLuhan & technological determinism

Limitations of McLuhan Probes fall apart on close inspection • Paradoxes or inconsistencies? Epochal analysis • Is this really a new oral/aural civilisation? Technological determinism • Media change seems to cause everything What happened to social power?

Add a comment

Related presentations

Related pages

The Medium is the Message - MIT - Massachusetts Institute ...

The Medium is the Message MARSHALL McCLUHAN In a culture like ours, ... sion of ourselves, or by any new technology. Thus, with automation, for example,
Read more

Technology Has a Message | Christian Educators Journal

It is often stated that technology is merely a tool. The typical argument goes something like this: it’s not the technology itself, it’s what you do ...
Read more

Is the medium the message of educational technology ...

Only a tiny fraction of what you communicate is sent through the words that you use, according to the research of Albert Mehrabian and others.
Read more

Why James Cameron’s Aliens is the best movie about ...

Why James Cameron’s Aliens is the best movie about technology. My friend Patrick has a joke. Maybe you’ve heard it.
Read more

The medium is the message - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The medium is the message" is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan meaning that the form ... and ways of doing things change because of the technology, ...
Read more

Church Technology: The Message vs. the Method

by Jason Caston “If the Church doesn’t catch up on technology and reach people where they are, it will become irrelevant.” That was the line that ...
Read more

Technology Integration: The Medium is Not the Message ...

by Daraius Bharucha Introduction - The Challenge Technology integration in the classroom has become an integral feature of 21st-century learning.
Read more

MU Message Board | Micron Technology, Inc ... - Yahoo Finance

Help Us Make it Better! We are in the process of testing our new message boards. Please provide your feedback so that we can optimize the user ...
Read more

Short Message Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Short Message Service (SMS) is a text messaging service component of ... Through these organizations the technology was made freely available to the whole ...
Read more

Message Technology | LinkedIn

View 329 Message Technology posts, presentations, experts, and more. Get the professional knowledge you need on LinkedIn.
Read more