The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

'oral cultures' can also refer to...


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Media studies


Show Summary Details


oral cultures

Quick Reference

1. Societies based on orality, the term being typically applied to those having no written literature and in which intergenerational cultural transmission of values, attitudes, and beliefs is by word of mouth (including through myths). Theorists such as McLuhan and Ong have stressed fundamental differences between oral and literate cultures (see great divide theories), including different patterns of thought. Critics stressing social and ideological factors argue that such views are a form of media determinism.

2. Subcultures within literate societies which place greater emphasis on the effective use of the speech (and often singing) than on literacy (as opposed to literary cultures).

Subjects: Media studies

Reference entries