Chapter 25 Media Ecology

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Marshall McLuhan
founder of the theory, stated "the medium is the message" studies the effects of media on people's lives
Media
generic term for all human-invented technology that extends the range, speed or channels of communications- changed people's symbolic environment, in turn it shapes and changes people's daily habits and behavior
Medium
a specific type of media; ex books
Medium ecology
the study of different environments that media creates.
It's hard to study because you are immersed in it, and it's hard to step back and look at it objectively
Technology and Environments- fish don't know they're in water, just like people don't know they're in the media because it's so ordinary to us, also everything is combined and mixed up
Tribal Age
Hearing, touch, taste and smell. Hearing is more important for sensing predators. The ear encourages a more holistic sense of the world. More immediate, more present
Literature Age
Hearing diminished when the alphabet was invented, you can take things out of context, hearing is no longer trustworthy- I need to see it in writing for it to be to. People no longer have to come together to figure out what to do, fostered science and philosophy
Print Age
Printing press, widespread exposure to the alphabet, mass production, nationalism, a sense of separation and aloneness
Electronic Age
Era of instant communication, a return to the global village with all at once touch and sound
Global Village- a worldwide electronic community where everyone knows everyone's business and all are somewhat testy
Constant contact with the world becomes a daily reality. All at once ness
Linear logic is useless in the electronic society. What we feel is more important than what we think.
We're still not in the electronic age yet
Digital Age
A possible fifth area of specialized electronic tribes contentious over diverse beliefs and values
There is a growing number of digital tribes forming around the most specialized ideas, beliefs, values, interests, and fetishes.
Everything is instantaneous, eventually no one has to see anyone or interact
Postman's Ethical Reflection
Neil Postman, chief successor to McLuhan
Form of media dictates and regulates what kind of content the medium can carry
A new technology always presents a Faustian Bargain- a deal with the devil for temporary gain
Society lost more than it gained from television
3 questions for new technology
1. What is the problem to which this technology is a solution?
2. Whose problem is it actually?
3. If there is a legitimate problem to be solved, what other problems will be created by my using this technology?
Critique
McLuhan didn't use scientific evidence or reasoning
Used a subjective approach to make objective claims
Difficult to prove because they are broad and general
Lack of falsifiability
Many theories have been ahead of their time and difficult to test
Global Village
A worldwide electronic community where everyone knows everyone's business and all are somewhat testy
Technology
According to McLuhan, human inventions that enhance communication
symbolic environment
the socially constructed sensory world of meanings
Why does McLuhan contend that media environments are "invisible"?
We are so immersed we don't notice them.
Accounting for the _______________ of the media environment means considering both incremental and sudden changes.
complexity
According to McLuhan, the phonetic alphabet inspired
linear thinking.
McLuhan believed that the course of history was determined by changes in
modes of communication.
McLuhan claimed that the "primitive" people of the tribal village
A. had well-developed senses of hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
B. were dominated by the right hemisphere of the brain.
C. led richer, more complex lives than their literate descendants.
"The medium is the message" suggests that
the channel is more influential than the content it carries.
Scholars suggest that we may be in the ______________ age, the next epoch in human history.
digital
What is a Faustian bargain?
deal with the devil
McLuhan has been criticized because
media ecology is difficult to test.
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