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CMNS 210 Lecture Notes - Stanley Aronowitz, Kony 2012, Raymond Williams

Course Code
CMNS 210
Stuart Poyntz

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Meaning and Technological Intimacy Today04/09/2012 9:27:00 AM
Stuart Poyntz
Office Hours: Wednesdays 12:00-1:00 (Burnaby Campus) K9654
The Name of The Rose (Watch this film, relatable to course material)
Media and History- our framework
How it is that media technology shapes the reality of the world, or history
Lectures will be avail next week. @
Learning Commons:
Helps for writing academic papers. (format, building arguments)
Use to help prepare for final papers
**Choose 2-3 course readings for next week‟s tutorial to present for the
tutorial presentation.
Think about topics for the term paper. Very important to think about ahead
of time. *40% of grade
November 13- paper proposal is due, with 4 research resources.
Timeframe of this course: 1500‟s- present
*Gutenberg Printing Press invented ~1400‟s
Those communication institutions, technologies and practices that
structure and nurture experience.
The belated conditions (i.e., particular social economic, cultural,
and political histories), experiences, and traces of the past that are
understood as significant and formative in constituting who we are
and what we know and do today.
1970‟s- Informationalizing of economic, social, and political life.

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Valuable and Truthful Knowledge- literate
Literacy vs. Oral
Writing has a more immediate relationship with “Mind”
Way we think of crucial knowledge (writing) is an example of the
social transformations the printing press has influenced.
“The past is not a dead letter but continues to resonate” –Stuart Poyntz
Where the act of communication is a basic and even natural extension of
ourselves in the world, we never communicate (to others) without the aid of
So a central concern is:
o To understand the nature, impact and meaning of technology
in our lives.
o To understand in what ways media technology has shaped
our lives and experiences?
o How have media technologies and their associated practices
changed cultural and political life across nation-states since
the introduction of the printing press (16th century)?
o In what ways can contemporary forms of media technology
be understood to foster social critique, democratic cultures,
and social change?
Oral Language- Mnemonics used to ensure memorization (ex. Repetition,
alliteration, rhythm, etc.)
Rather than argue that media technologies structure our lives completely, or
that we as users, consumers, viewers are free to choose and use media as
we please, the focus of this course is different.
Our project is to understand how human agency and media
technologies have and continue to act through one another.
What we will investigate, in other words, is the relationship between media
technologies (as one significant kind of media structure) and our own
agency, our ability to influence, shape and take action in the world.

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Constant interactions between ourselves and media technologies
The Course is divided into three major sections:
Orality, printing, the nation and democracy
Industrialization, consumerism, and media form (photography, film,
radio, tv) (19th/ 20th century)
Globalization, digital transformation, and public life
Raymond Williams
The concept of mediation has been part of the English Language
since the 14th Century
Over time, as mediation has been defined through various systems
of thought, it taken on three different meanings.
“If we want to know how our ideas develop, we need to first know what
baggage words carry”- Stuart Poyntz
The first and most common way we use „mediate‟ is to refer to the work of
“finding a central point between two opposites” (Williams, 1985, p. 205).
Here, mediation is about finding the middle ground
“Here is the good about the PC and the bad of the PC”
Where technology is concerned, we generally use this idea to talk
about mediating between the pros and cons to technology‟s impact
on our lives.
In other words, we have to mediate between the good and the bad
of technology‟s impact on our lives.
Mediation is passive. In a deep sense, it doesn‟t ultimately change the
McLuan- technology is extensions of ourselves- without them we feel
Another way to think of Mediation: the interaction of two opposed concepts
or forces in the totality to which they are assumed to belong.. in other
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