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Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980)

Forfatter af Mennesket og medierne

53+ Works 7,655 Members 77 Reviews 23 Favorited

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A poetry professor turned media theorist---or media guru, as some in the press called him at the time---Marshall McLuhan startled television watchers during the 1960's with the notion that the medium they were enthralled by was doing more than transmitting messages---it was the message: Its vis mere rapid-fire format, mixing programs and advertisements, conveyed as much as---or more than---any single broadcast element. McLuhan grew up in the prairie country of the Canadian West and studied English at the University of Manitoba and Cambridge University. As television entered a period of huge growth during the 1950's, McLuhan, then a college professor, became interested in advertising. He thought of it as something to be taken seriously as a new culture form, beyond its obvious capability of selling products. That interest led to his increasing speculation about what media did to audiences. In his unpredictable modern poetry classes at the University of Toronto, he spoke more and more of media. The students he taught were the television generation, the first to grow up with the medium. Many were fascinated by McLuhan's provocative observations that a medium of communication radically alters the experience being communicated. A society, he said, is shaped more by the style than by the content of its media. Thus, the linear, sequential style of printing established a linear, sequential style of thinking, in which one thing is considered after another in orderly fashion: it shaped a culture in which (objective) reason predominated and experience was isolated, compartmentalized, and repeatable. In contrast, the low-density images of television, composed of a mosaic of light and dark dots, established a style of response in which it is necessary to unconsciously reconfigure the dots immediately in order to derive meaning from them. It has shaped a culture in which (subjective) emotion predominates and experience is holistic and unrepeatable. Since television (and the other electronic media) transcends space and time, the world is becoming a global village---a community in which distance and isolation are overcome. McLuhan was crisp and assured in his pronouncements and impatient with those who failed to grasp their import. McLuhan's most famous saying, "the medium is the message," was explicated in the first chapter of his most successful book, "Understanding Media," published in 1966 and still in print. It sold very well for a rather abstruse book and brought McLuhan widespread attention in intellectual circles. The media industry responded by seeking his advice and enthusiastically disseminating his ideas in magazines and on television. These ideas caused people to perceive their environment, particularly their media environment, in radically new ways. It was an unsettling experience for some, liberating for others. Though McLuhan produced some useful insights, he was given to wild generalizations and flagrant exaggerations. Some thought him a charlatan, and he always felt himself an outcast at the university, at least partly because of his disdain for print culture and opposition to academic conventions. He never seemed quite as energetic after an operation in 1967 to remove a huge brain tumor, but he continued to work and teach until he suffered a stroke in 1979. He died a year later. Though today his writings are not discussed as much by the general public, his thesis is still considered valid and his ideas have become widely accepted. (Bowker Author Biography) vis mindre
Image credit: 1967 photo by Bernard Gotfryd

Værker af Marshall McLuhan

Mennesket og medierne (1964) 2,841 eksemplarer
The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) — Forfatter — 1,013 eksemplarer
War and Peace in the Global Village (1657) 386 eksemplarer
The Mechanical Bride (1951) 257 eksemplarer
From Cliche to Archetype (1970) 107 eksemplarer
Laws of Media: The New Science (1988) — Forfatter — 93 eksemplarer
Counterblast (1969) 84 eksemplarer
The Book of Probes (2003) 65 eksemplarer
Culture Is Our Business (1970) 54 eksemplarer
Letters of Marshall McLuhan (1987) 36 eksemplarer
Explorations in Communication (1960) — Redaktør — 34 eksemplarer
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1945) — Bidragyder — 31 eksemplarer
Marshall Mcluhan-Unbound (2005) 29 eksemplarer
Verbi-voco-visual explorations (1967) 24 eksemplarer
Media (2001) 14 eksemplarer
Media and Formal Cause (2011) 9 eksemplarer
D'oeil à oreille (2006) 3 eksemplarer
Lo strano caso del Dr. McLuhan (2013) 1 eksemplar
Yaradanimiz Medya (2019) 1 eksemplar
Global Köy (2015) 1 eksemplar
Tetrad Workbook (2012) 1 eksemplar
Libraries Without Shelves (1979) 1 eksemplar
Marshall McLuhan 1 eksemplar

Associated Works

The New Media Reader (2003) — Bidragyder — 297 eksemplarer
McLuhan, Hot & Cool (1967) — Bidragyder — 156 eksemplarer
Arguing Comics: Literary Masters on a Popular Medium (1656) — Bidragyder — 71 eksemplarer
The Futurists (1972) — Bidragyder — 68 eksemplarer
The Man-Made Object (Vision + Value Series) (1966) — Bidragyder — 46 eksemplarer
Paradox in Chesterton (1947) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver27 eksemplarer
Future Media (2011) — Bidragyder — 13 eksemplarer
World War 3 Illustrated #33: The Situation (2002) — Bidragyder — 2 eksemplarer

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Juridisk navn
McLuhan, Herbert Marshall
Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
complications of stroke
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Cambridge, England, UK
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
New York, New York, USA
University of Cambridge (BA|1936|MA|1940|D.Phil|1943 - Trinity Hall)
University of Manitoba (BA|1933|MA|1934 - English)
professor (English)
Parker, Harley
Kenner, Hugh (student)
Brooks, Cleanth (friend)
Fiore, Quentin (collaborator)
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Saint Louis University
Assumption College
University of Toronto (St. Michael's College)
Priser og hædersbevisninger
University Gold Medal in Arts and Science, University of Manitoba (1933)
IODE War Memorial Scholarship ( [1934, 1935])
Latham Prize, Cambridge University ( [1934] ∙ [1935])
Governor-General's Award for critical prose (1963)
Honorary Doctorate (University of Manitoba ∙ 1967)
Honorary Doctorate (Simon Fraser University ∙ 1967) (vis alle 23)
Honorary Doctorate (Grinnell University ∙ 1967)
Honorary Doctorate (University of Windsor)
Honorary Doctorate (Assumption College)
Honorary Doctorate (Humane Letters ∙ University of Rochester ∙ 1969)
Order of Canada (1970)
Insitute for Public Relations ( [1970])
Fellow, Royal Society of Canada ( [1973])
Christian Culture Award, Assumption College ( [1973])
Gold Medal Award, Italian Republic ( [1973])
President's Cabinet Award, University of Detroit
L.L.D., University of Western Ontario (1973)
Citation, Religious Educational Association of the United States and Canada (1973)
Civic Award of Merit, City of Toronto (1974)
Man of Achievement Diploma, National Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England (1975)
Honorary Doctorate (University of Toronto ∙ 1976)
Honorary Doctorate (University of Wisconsin ∙ 1979)
Molson Prize (1967)



Only good if you don't take it as serious politics/cultural studies, and even then it's pretty ridiculous. A lot of it looks absurd in the context of the 40 odd years of technological and political. development since this was written. The idea that modern technology is particularly liberating, especially, doesn't look like much now. It's weird because he seems to make comments every so often which show the essential similarity between modern technology and older technology but he doesn't let it change his rather bold predictions of the coming massive societal changes due to technology. The text is written kind of confusingly a lot of the time. Overall it's just a bit crap.

The "art" aspect is pretty poor and I really don't appreciate stuff like mirror text.

"Until writing was invented, man lived in acoustic space: boundless, directionless, horizonless, in the dark of the mind, in the world of emotion, by primordial intuition, by terror. Speech is a social chart of this bog." Really? Is there any reason to believe this at all?

"The instantaneous world of electric informational media involves all of us, all at once. No detachment or frame is possible." No reason to consider this true.

"In tribal societies we are told that it is a familiar reaction, when some hideous event occurs, for some people to say, "How horrible it must be to feel like that," instead of blaming somebody for having done something horrible. This feeling is an aspect of the new mass culture we are moving into—a world of total involvement in which everybody is so profoundly involved with everybody else and in which nobody can really imagine what private guilt can be anymore." First, "tribal societies"?? Lazy as hell. There's a lot of ideas about "primitive" society in this that are just claptrap. And second guilt is just as private. Like he regularly says that technology is making the world more connected and social yet the reality is that things haven't changed much in that respect and if anything we've become *more* atomised - the reams of analysis about neoliberalism bear this out.

"The poet, the artist, the sleuth —whoever sharpens our perception tends to be antisocial; rarely "well-adjusted," he cannot go along with currents and trends. A strange bond often exists among anti-social types in their power to see environments as they really are." Very unpleasant "sheeple" style talk, no reason at all to believe this really.

I really think humour actually works to reinforce existing prejudices - it's generally done before thought, based on your pre-existing ideas.

"Formerly, the problem was to invent new forms of labor-saving. Today, the reverse is the problem. Now we have to adjust, not to invent." The problem is always to invent new ways of labour-saving, because that's capitalism. We have always needed to adjust to changes, it's a constant. There's been several serious changes in the past 1000 years (emergence of capitalism for a start). This is not new and not accurate.

He claims that television will not work as a background. Heh. His idea that television means the viewer participates whereas other mass media is just a "packaging device" makes no sense and is never explained.

I disagree with most of what he says and he never argues it or anything, it's just there. It feels super wanky, like adbusters or something. There's even a John Cage quote about how the I-Ching helped him find "joy". There are a few ok bits but it's not worth going through the rot.

"Hollywood is often a fomenter of anti-colonial rebellions" is stretching the truth a lot.

Talk about "Orientalizing" the West is gross and racist and makes no sense.

The idea that electronic media brings us into a village again has not really been borne out at all.

Will appeal if you love going on about "spectacle", "sheeple" or talking about how revolutionary twitter is. Will not appeal if you want decent politics, good arguments, good writing, good analysis, or good art. Admittedly I'm probably being unfair with a 1 star rating, but I'm sick of technological fetishism and there really wasn't anything convincing or exciting in this.
… (mere)
tombomp | 29 andre anmeldelser | Oct 31, 2023 |
I hate it when my review is above the global average but, come on! MCLUHAN!

"There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening."
therebelprince | 29 andre anmeldelser | Oct 24, 2023 |
La visione dei media nell'ottica della Chiesa: l'autore esamina come la Chiesa cattolica e altre istituzioni religiose vedano e utilizzino i media nella diffusione del messaggio religioso.

Le forme possibili della chiesa del futuro: McLuhan specula sulle possibili evoluzioni della Chiesa e come i media possano influenzare la sua struttura e funzionamento.
Queste sono solo alcune delle idee principali trattate nel libro. Per una comprensione più approfondita, sarebbe consigliabile leggere direttamente il testo.

In "La luce e il mezzo. Riflessioni sulla religione", Marshall McLuhan esplora la relazione tra religione e media attraverso diverse prospettive. Ecco alcuni modi in cui McLuhan affronta questo argomento nel libro:

Natura della conversione: McLuhan indaga sulla natura della conversione religiosa e come i media influenzino questo processo. Esplora come i mezzi di comunicazione possano influenzare le credenze e le pratiche religiose delle persone.

Visione dei media nell'ottica della Chiesa: L'autore analizza come la Chiesa cattolica e altre istituzioni religiose vedano e utilizzino i media nella diffusione del messaggio religioso. Esplora come i media possano essere considerati strumenti per raggiungere i fedeli e diffondere la fede.

Forme possibili della chiesa del futuro: McLuhan specula sulle possibili evoluzioni della Chiesa e come i media possano influenzare la sua struttura e funzionamento. Esplora come i cambiamenti tecnologici e mediatici possano plasmare la forma e l'organizzazione delle comunità religiose.

Queste sono solo alcune delle idee principali discusse da McLuhan nel libro. "La luce e il mezzo. Riflessioni sulla religione" offre un'analisi approfondita della relazione tra religione e media, offrendo spunti di riflessione su come i mezzi di comunicazione possano influenzare la fede e la pratica religiosa.

Marshall McLuhan, nel suo libro, esplora la relazione tra religione e media da diverse prospettive. La sua prospettiva sulla religione nel panorama dei media è stata influenzata dalla sua fede cattolica. McLuhan ha sostenuto che i media possono influenzare la fede e la pratica religiosa delle persone, e ha esplorato come la Chiesa cattolica e altre istituzioni religiose vedano e utilizzino i media nella diffusione del messaggio religioso.

Inoltre, ha speculato sulle possibili evoluzioni della Chiesa e come i media possano influenzare la sua struttura e funzionamento. McLuhan ha anche sostenuto che la comprensione della religione e dei media richiede una partecipazione attiva alla comprensione di come i messaggi vengono trasmessi e ricevuti.

In generale, la prospettiva di McLuhan sulla religione e sui media è stata influenzata dalla sua fede cattolica e dalla sua comprensione dei media come strumenti per la diffusione del messaggio religioso. "Il mezzo è il messaggio" è un "messaggio" chiaro. Il "Verbo" è il "Mezzo" e anche il "Messaggio".
… (mere)
AntonioGallo | Aug 5, 2023 |
Hard to read, yet visionary and enlightening.

Gosh, how do I even begin talking about this one. It took me almost 4 years to finish it; I had to take breaks from our from time to time. It's one of those books that seem to be written for a different kind of focus, and so densely packed with information and connections that you start feeling overwhelmed in no time.

He has a way to just dump information. In the same sentence he links Einstein's Theory of Relativity to MAD Magazine ("relative" understanding opened the door to cartoons and MAD's cynicism); in another wheels and Krazy Kat (wheels extend men's reach; bricks extend Krazy Kat's).

Still, he has a way to see and explain patterns others have ignored; it's no surprise many of the lessons from this book are still repeated to this day, and many future predictions turned out to be accurate (if painfully described).

Reads like the extensive ramblings of a madman that was correct more often than not.
… (mere)
zeh | 21 andre anmeldelser | Jun 3, 2023 |



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