Marshall McLuhan was one of the prominent media experts in history. His books written in the 60s, such as The Gutenberg Galaxy or Understanding Media, are the cornerstones of the study of media. They analysed the relation between print and individual thought processes and culture organisation, the impact of TV on societies, and the phenomenon of globalisation (the famous ‘global village’). McLuhan’s works from over half a century ago discussed the relation between people and more and more intelligent machines. It is worth noting that as a fixture in the public discourse in Canada he managed to introduce the media discourse into the cultural mainstream.
Today, the interest in the idea that ‘the medium is the message’ is renewed as the changes in communication more and more directly impact the way societies function. The new technologies give individuals unheard of opportunities to easily access gargantuan volumes of personalised content. On the flip side, there are problems brought about by the next generation media, i.e. fake news, privacy protection challenges, and the lack of transparency of the international digital corporations.
We are going to talk about to what extent McLuhan’s critique of the media and construing them as an ecosystem are relevant in the contemporary world. What can we learn now from the multifaceted McLuhan’s heritage? What ideas and notions can be helpful in demystifying the media reality which has become unintelligible for most users due to the dynamic changes in the last decade?
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