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TEMPLE / SMC: School of Media & Comm / SMC 1111 / How did mcluhan explain the differences of the varied forms of media?

How did mcluhan explain the differences of the varied forms of media?

How did mcluhan explain the differences of the varied forms of media?


School: Temple University
Department: SMC: School of Media & Comm
Course: Communication and Public Life
Professor: Scott gratson
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: Communications
Cost: 50
Name: Communications Notes
Description: These notes cover what we have learned all semester and they correspond with the textbook.
Uploaded: 03/08/2016
6 Pages 81 Views 2 Unlocks

Leonora Connelly (Rating: )

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Communications and Public Life

How did mcluhan explain the differences of the varied forms of media?


∙ McLuhan as the prophet of media determinism in the age of TV  ∙ The Media is the Massage

His journey:

∙ McLuhan started out in English literature, he followed F. R. Leavis’ lead  and started to examine not only literary texts, the traditional subject of  study but also other media texts, like adverts.

o Advertisements are little stories

∙ His first major book, the Mechanical Bride was on advertising, the first  time anyone had studied adverts as texts.

The turn inwards:

∙ From this position he developed the idea that it was not the content of  media that is important but the form or technology of the media, he  turned inwards.

What term did mcluhan first coin in 1962 to describe how technology connects us and makes the world smaller?

∙ He began to argue that technology and specifically media leads to great  cultural changes.

Human History

∙ McLuhan proposed a schema that divided human history into four distinct  technologically orientated ‘ages’ or epochs;

o An oral/primitive age which the dominant sense was aural, o A literate age in which the visual sense gained some importance as  visual artefacts rose in importance,

o A print age which the visual sense dominated,

o An electronic age in which other senses begin to play a greater part. Technology

∙ Tech is the prime mover in changing the world

What was a system of government where landowners granted land in exchange for labor and military service?

∙ McLuhan is understood to argue that the system of media technology that  dominated each age, auditory, textual, print and electronic played a  considerable part in structure human experience. Don't forget about the age old question of What are federal faps?
If you want to learn more check out How to determine the market price?

∙ Media technology operates as the ‘prime mover’ in structuring human  interaction and experience of the world.

Heilbroner: Do machines make history?

∙ Original thesis: Something moved society from feudalism- economic  ownership by landowners who became so by exchanging military service for  lands- to capitalism.

o What was it?

o He asserts that history is divided between modern and pre-modern, not at chronological periods, but as styles. That is, how people think about  themselves and what affects them.

o He asserts in premodern times, humans were acted upon beyond our  control. Now, machines that we create end up affecting us. TD is a  symbiotic relationship.

∙ But much more likely, machines change history by changing the material  conditions of human existence.  

∙ Machines are like a palimpsest-defined as: a very old document on which the  original writing has been erased and replaced with new writing.

∙ He proposes that economics works in tandem with technology, allowing us to  loosen or constrict our behavior.

o Change tech -> change the economy -> change human progress ∙ Technology is driven by economics, and those technologies allow us to  operate in a more open or constricted manner.  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of boyle`s law?

o Example: The construction of time.

∙ He concludes by admitting that technology is now in the constant  background, always a viable force. We also discuss several other topics like What does wernicke's area do?

∙ In the foreground is social change, but that social change is tethered to  economics, which both affect and are affected by technology.

∙ These three things work in balance, one offsetting the other and affecting it  but never being removed from it.

o Economics, tech, change (TRIANGLE)

Technological Determinism, Media Determinism, and SMC

∙ The role of the self, collectives, and technology become meshed ∙ Technological advances are anything that advances us as a species. o Ex: Wheels, pens, boats, navigation Don't forget about the age old question of What is the content of mendel’s laws?

∙ Technology as communication linked as social progress

∙ The concept of tech and TD was originally noted by: THORSTEIN VEBLEN  (1857-1929)

∙ Concept furthered by CHARLES A. BEARD, “Technology marches in seven league boots from one ruthless, revolutionary conquest to another, tearing  down old factories and industries, flinging up new processes with terrifying  rapidity.”

∙ TD is noted as “The belief that social progress is driven by technological  innovation, which in turn follows an ‘inevitable’ course.” Michael L. Smith ∙ The idea that technological development determines social change..” Bruce  Bimber

∙ To important areas:

o Tech is a predictable path largely beyond cultural or political influence o Society organizes itself to support and develop a tech or tech overall  once being introduced.

Augmented Reality

∙ A real time photo and something rests on it

o Example: snapchat filter, GPS

Myth and Communication 

∙ Apollo vs. Dionysus

o Activity- learning vs. fun

∙ Aspects of Bakhtin

o Free and familiar interaction between people: in the carnival, normally  separated people can interact and freely express themselves to one  another.

o Eccentric behavior: behavior that was otherwise unacceptable is  legitimate in carnival, and human nature’s hidden sides are revealed o Carnivalistic misalliances: The free and familiar attitude of the carnival  enables everything which is normally separated to connect- the sacred  with the profane, the new and old, and the high and low.  We also discuss several other topics like Why is reproductive isolation so important to speciation?

o Sacrilegious: the carnival for Bakhtin is a site of ungodliness, of  blasphemy, profanity and parodies on things that are sacred.

∙ On the other hand stood the normal, official, serious and gloomy everyday  life which were subordinated to strict hierarchic order and full of terror and  dogmatism.

∙ On the other hand there were the carnivalesque life which were free and  unbounded, filled with ambivalent laughter, sacrilegious and the defilement  of anything sacred, humiliations and familiar contact with everyone and  everything.  

∙ Both these life forms were legitimate but they were separated by harsh  temporal borders. And so, we will look at the implications of the two myths as shown as in the Harlem Shake and then more applications of myths in  communication, looking at advertising narratives.

∙ Harlem Shake video in Harlem; people reacting to the viral videos o Locals feel disrespected because their culture is being ridiculed  o The real Harlem shake is actually a dance art form that deserves  respect  

o It’s not just a dance, it showcases a lifestyle of a community  o “People on W 4th do that” quote from the video (W 4th is a rich, white  area of New York)

Foucault Basics

∙ Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers, France in 1926.

∙ He later taught French at the University of Warsaw and the University of  Hamburg.

∙ Foucault later was a professor of Philosophy at the University of Clermont Ferrand.  

∙ In 1968, directs Department of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII at  Viennes.

∙ In 1970, Foucault was elected to the College de France as Professor of the  History of Systems of Thought.

∙ His head was shaved.

∙ He died at the age of 57 in 1984.

∙ He notes: Foucault said constant supervision and forced discipline broke the  will of the criminal and made him into a “docile body”. The “docile body” was  easy to control by people in authority.

∙ Foucault theorized the reason the prison system has lasted so long is it  benefits the ruling social class. He believed the ruling class used criminality  as a way of preventing confrontations that could lead to revolution.  

∙ Panopticon (see Jeremy Bentham) in relation to Michel Foucault  o Jail cell where guards are sitting watching in a tower in the middle but  it’s impossible for the guards to look at every prisoner at once.

∙ Ideas on Foucault and the Rule of Advocacy

o Every attempt to create “order” always demands the creation of an  equal amount of ‘disorder’ (Klages 1997).

o Modernism creates a mirage to mask the creation to mask the creation of this “disorder”, Postmodernism also regrets the idea that there is a  “grand scheme” to things.

o Postmodernists believe things are always situational or temporary and  there is no universal truth or stability (Klages, 1997).

o Foucault’s postmodern ideas paralleled Friedrich Nietzsche, who  “marked the beginning of the end of Modernism” (Thiele 1990: 909).  Nietzsche’s famous quotes: “God is dead”, “When you stare into  the abyss and the abyss stares back, you have your character”  ∙ The legal systems segregated the most dynamic of the lowest social class  from the rest of society, then forced them together as a group of outcasts,  thus rendering them politically harmless. Foucault also stated by marking this group as criminals they are easier to supervise and keep disorganized by  keeping the members flowing in and out of the prison system.

∙ Each society has its regime of truth, its “general politics” of truth: that is, the  types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true, etc…  ∙ Thus, rules create power which facilitates communication to underscore the  creation of rules

Disney’s goals: Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency  

C- Culture (3) [STRC]

A- Analysis (2) [ADV]

R- Research (4) [JRN]

T- Theory (1) [MSP]

Tips for Reading: Section 1

1) What are the highly regarded definitions? Who said them?

2) What are the key texts? Who wrote them?

3) Is there a list? Memorize it. Always.

4) What is the purpose of section 1? How do you know?

Tips for Reading: Section 4

1) What major writer is cited? On what does he focus?

2) What reference does this writer make to other writers?

3) What are the writer’s major contentions and conclusions?

Tips for Reading: Section 5

1) This section is really the author’s words. Does the author introduce any  definitions?

2) Do you know all of the myths that he notes? For example, did you find the  Plato’s cave example? Know all of the author’s examples.

3) So what? The author is suggesting things that you should know and learn via  the conclusions. What are these points?


∙ Biggest suggestion: What makes us human is fear of death, the number one  need is to convince ourselves that we won’t die. We create needs based on  that.

∙ He was an advertising theorist  

o So we buy stuff that will make us believe that we will be eternal and  live forever

∙ He has EIGHT theories

∙ Emotional Security

o We all start out as fragile emotional beings and very few of us achieve  deep emotional security, so we all keep seeking it.

o Emotions: comfort, happiness and banishing of bad feelings, security  aspect, emphasizing home, permanence and safety

∙ Reassurance of Worth

o In a connected world we can lose sense of who we are and what we are worth. We thus seek reassurance that we are adding value and deserve our place in society.

o Emotion: doing the right thing (Ex. Saving the environment or helping  others). Celebrities are also used when they effectively say “you will be admired and valued like me”.

∙ Ego Gratification

o Ego gratification is related to worth in that they are both about the  sense of identity, but this is perhaps a little more base, where we have  a need for praise and our egos to be “stroked”. For example, when we  do something at work we want to be congratulated and praised, much  as we needed to be valued and praised as a child.  

∙ Creative Outlets

o We all like creating and making things, and even a simple assembly  process as with Lego toys can bring much pleasure. Many jobs have  little creative content, leaving this need unfulfilled. We thus seek  creative opportunity in other parts of our life.

o Adverts offer creativity when they sell objects where we can be  creative, from food ingredients to clothes.

∙ Love objects

o Children and adults want both to love and be loved. Children have dolls and teddy bears, but what do adults have? They have on another, their cars, their pets and gadgets. They need something to love and if they  do not have something they will buy or make one.

o Adverts offer to take us back to childhood with child-like personalities.  They sell us things to love for our loved ones (including our pets).

∙ Sense of power

o When we are in control we have a sense of ability to choose and  perhaps power over others. When we can direct others we move up the social order and so are, theoretically at least, safer. Big cars, chunky  tools, solid houses, and old banks all make us feel safe, and when we  own or use them, powerful.

o Emotion: buying something will put you in charge.

∙ Roots

o Our roots are a key part of our sense of identity. Where we come from,  our heritage, our family, our nation are important for that feeling of  who we are. We identify with our old school, our college, where we  

were brought up, our country, our employer, our religion. All are  important, and the longer we stay in one place and the longer ago it  happened, the more important it is for us.

o And yet we live mobile lives, fitting from place to place, job to job. We  seek roots but in seeking to satisfy other needs we make ourselves  rootless.

∙ Immortality

o Perhaps the biggest fear we have is of death. Or maybe not death but  of ceasing, of becoming nothing. We likewise seek to create meaning in our lives so we may live beyond death. We have children, write books,  build companies, and more. We also seek to cheat age, striving to look  younger when perhaps we should grow older more gracefully.

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