Raymond Williams Marshall McLuhan The Medium is the

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Raymond Williams Marshall McLuhan The Medium is the Powered By Docstoc
					Marshall McLuhan
     The Medium is the Message

• Medium: ?
• Message:?
      The Medium is the Message

• Medium: Any extension of ourselves.
• Message: The personal and social
  consequences of this extension. The message
  is: “the change of scale or pace or pattern that
  it(the medium) introduces into human
  affairs”.
The Medium is the Message.



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What about content?.



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For the “content” of any medium is
like the juicy piece of meat carried
by the burglar to distract the
watchdog of the mind.
Rearview-mirror view?.
The Medium is the Message.




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The Medium is the Message.
Narcissus trance?
         Two types of medium.

Hot:
• High Definition
• Focuses on medium.
• Low participation.

Cool:
• Low Definition.
• Focuses on the viewer.
• High participation.
              For example…

Hot:
• A photograph.
• Radio.
• A lecture.

Cool:
• A cartoon.
• The telephone.
• Television.
Raymond Williams
Historical Materialism




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      Technological Determinism
            (two flavors)‫‏‬
• Technology as accident.
• Technology as symptom.
              Technology as Accident
         (Television has altered our world)‫‏‬
Television was invented as a result of scientific and technical
research…
  1.   Its power as a medium of news and entertainment was then so
       great that it altered all preceding media of news and
       entertainment.
  2.   Its power as a medium of social communication was then so great
       that it altered many of our institutions and forms of social
       relationships.
  3.   Its inherent properties as and electronic medium altered our basic
       perceptions of reality, and thence our relations with each other and
       with the world.
  4.   …and developed as a medium of entertainment and news. It then
       had unforeseen consequences, not only on other entertainment and
       news media, which it reduced in viability and importance, but on
       some of the central processes of family, cultural and social life.
           Technology as Symptom
      (Television has altered our world)‫‏‬
5.   Television, discovered as a possibility by scientific and technical
     research, was selected for investment and development to meet
     the needs of a new kind of society, especially in the provision of
     centralized entertainment and in the centralized formation of
     opinions and styles of behavior.
6.   Television, discovered as a possibility by scientific and technical
     research, was selected for investment and promotion as a new and
     profitable phase of a domestic consumer economy, it is then one of
     the characteristic “machines of the home”.
7.   Television became available as a result of scientific and technical
     research, and in its character and uses exploited and emphasized
     elements of a passivity, a cultural and psychological inadequacy,
     which had always been latent in people, but which television new
     organized and came to represent.
8.   Television became available as a result of scientific and technical
     research, and in its character and uses both served and exploited
     the needs of a new kind of large-scale and complex but atomized
     society.
     Technological Determinism

What are some of the problems with this
philosophy according to Williams?

Do we see instances of this outlook
elsewhere?
      In Technological Determinism:

1. Each view can be seen to depend on the
   isolation of technology. It is either a self-
   acting force which creates new ways of life,
   or it is a self-acting force which provides
   materials for new ways of life.
2. Research and development are are seen as
   self-generating.
3. These views serve to mask important
   philosophical questions regarding
   technology.
Williams claims there is a need:



•   To see a technology as being “looked for”,
    with certain purposes and practices already
    in mind.
•   To see a technology as fulfilling know social
    needs.
Development of Faraday’s electro-magnetic
induction & Volta’s battery:

•   Coincides with the development of industrial
    production.
•   With new industrial needs such as city and
    house lighting.
Development of telegraphy:


•   Coincides with the development of railways.
•   The development of international trade and
    transport.
television:


•   Much of the technology needed for the
    development of television existed by 1914.
    But there was not yet a social investment to
    bring the various parts together.
television:

1.   It was not until society became characterized by new
     scales of mobility that television was “taken up”.
2.   This change in mobility itself was not caused by new
     telecommunications systems but by earlier
     developments: industrial production, new social
     forms, capital accumulation, and working technical
     improvements. These created new needs and
     possibilities.
Needs?
Mobility?
Communication?
Transmission?

				
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