Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
by Marshall McLuhan (Author), Lewis H. Lapham (Author)
Terms and phrases such as “the global village” and “the medium is the message” are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan’s theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.
This reissue of Understanding Media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan’s classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as “the global village” and “the medium is the message” are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan’s theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.
There has been a notable resurgence of interest in McLuhan’s work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and the regional phone companies, the appearance of magazines such as WiRed, and the development of new media models and information ecologies, many of which were spawned from MIT’s Media Lab. In effect, media now begs to be redefined. In a new introduction to this edition of Understanding Media, Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan’s work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of this century.
- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 392 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (October 20, 1994)
…the most brilliant marketing mind of all belonged to Marshall McLuhan. Understanding Media is a timeless analysis of how language, speech and technology shape human behavior in the era of mass communication. The book is a cautionary tale for marketers today who hear the Web’s siren call and ignore the power of the spoken word.
(Wall Street Journal)
Marx thought that how production was organized (and changed over time) drove a society’s social and political structures (and ultimately its citizens’ psyches); McCluhan argues (in excruciating and exacting detail) that the FORM of the “extensions of man”, AKA the man made world– the wheel, clothes, the phonetic alphabet and linear printing, radio, TV, etc, AKA technology, have had profound psycho-social impacts throughout human history, driven by invention and innovation. E.g., no Gutenberg, no Renaissance and European nationalism.