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Lecture 2: Theories of Changing Media

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Communication Studies
COMM 1101
Chris Russill

Lecture 2: Theories of Changing Media The Medium is the Message  Don’t become too smitten or distracted by content in evaluating the significance of media  Have to look at medium, not the content, in order to understand  “New” media are often imagined in terms of “old” media  Carr on the dominance of “oral” communication over writing  Patterns developed through oral speaking; oral communication is not gone, but writing and reading are more dominant  Old writing didn’t have pauses or punctuation; much more labourious  If something is important, build redundancy into message  Through perspective of transmitting things, however, it’s inefficient; in message compression, it’s extraneous – damaging when it costs a lot of money to transmit a message  McLuhan pointed to examples where the “medium” was “the message”; the “content” of a new medium is the old medium  McLuhan: content of writing was speech, the previous medium; printing become the content of print books; cell phones have many other applications on them  “Remediation” – “the representation of one medium in another” PAGE 89 o The deterioration of something; remediate old, damaged land Examples of Medium Analysis  Socrates – didn’t write, embodied dialectical way or engaging people and teaching (question and answer)  Thought people couldn’t cultivate ability to use reason  Used reason through oral discourse to attain knowledge and truth  Egyptian King in the story on writing: false idea that you have knowledge, have worse memory, no self-reliance/independence of mind to reach judgements Newsprint and Democracy  Democracy – government by the people  A democratic society requires that all three components of media (technologies, institutions, and cultural forms) are governed by the people  Can’t have democracy without a vibrant, free press  Media system has to be democratic – the fact that we vote every now and then is not enough  Freedom (charter of rights and freedoms) of expression in Canadian law is limited by other Charter rights, e.g. right to equality Five Components of Public Sphere 1. Arena of collective self-determination through “the medium of talk.” 2.
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