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Any concept deriving from, and/or in the style of, Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian academic who enjoyed international cult status as a media guru in the 1960s. He is best known for his provocative insistence that ‘the medium is the message’ and for his popularization of the concept of the global village. ‘The medium is the message’ had at least four apparent meanings: that the medium shapes its content (i.e. that the nature of any medium has implications for the kinds of experience which can be best handled with it); that using a medium is important in itself (e.g. watching television or reading books are experiences in themselves regardless of explicit content); that the message of a medium is the ‘impact’ it has on society; and that the message of a medium is its transformation of the perceptual habits of its users. McLuhan adopted the stance that communication technologies such as television, radio, printing, and writing profoundly transformed both society and ‘the human psyche’. Consequently, he is usually regarded as a technological determinist. The technologies (or media) which he discussed reflected his very broad definition of ‘media’. This stance (sometimes known more specifically as media determinism) can be seen as an application of the same reductionist approach taken by the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to the nature of media in general. Just as Whorf argued that different languages shape our perception and thinking differently, McLuhan argued that all media do this. For McLuhan, the neutrality of the medium was a myth. See also hot and cool media; media environment; medium theory; rear-view mirror; sense ratio.

http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/ The official site of Marshall McLuhan

Subjects: Media studies

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