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The Bias of Communication by Harold A. Innis, Alexander John Watson

By Harold A. Innis, Alexander John Watson

One of the main influential books ever released in Canada, Harold A. Innis's The Bias of Communication has performed a big half in reshaping our realizing of heritage, communique, and media idea. First released in 1951, this masterful selection of essays explores the connection among a society's conversation media and that community's skill to take care of keep watch over over its improvement. Innis considers political and fiscal forces within the context of social swap and the function of verbal exchange within the production of either historic and smooth empires.

In an essay for this new version, Innis biographer Alexander John Watson examines the explanations why Innis, on the top of his luck as an financial historian, launched into new examine components of communications and empire, in addition to the ways that Marshall McLuhan's interpretations of Innis replaced and de-politicized Innis's work.

As vital at the present time because it used to be whilst first released, The Bias of Communication is key examining for historians and students of communique and media studies.

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One of the most prescient about the value of Innis to communication studies has been James Carey, who sees in Innis a useful critical counterpoint to American views of communication. 10 The influence of Innis's concern for the cultural consequences of media can be found in several analyses of television. Neil Postman's Disappearance of Childhood11 contrasts the culture of television with the culture of books. Postman argues that the stages of cognitive learning demanded by literacy tempered access to adult knowledge, thereby preserving and maintaining the possibilities of childhood as a place apart from the adult world.

The dangers became apparent in the difficulty of maintaining contact with changes in the oral language. The people spoke Aramaic and Hebrew became a learned language. Christianity was saved from being a Jewish sect by the necessity of appealing to the spoken Greek language. "It is written . " The New Testament was written in colloquial Greek. Christianity exploited the advantages of a new technique and the use of a new material. Parchment in the codex replaced papyrus in the roll. The parchment codex was more durable, more compact, and more easily consulted for reference.

Innis (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1981). xxxii INTRODUCTION charts his guiding concepts for both communications history and modern media studies. Despite the notorious complexity of Bias, the basic ideas are accessible enough. History is perceived as a series of epochs separated by discontinuity. Each epoch is distinguished by dominant forms of media that absorb, record, and transform information into systems of knowledge consonant with the institutional power structure of the society in question. The interaction between media form and social reality creates biases, which strongly affect the society's cultural orientation and values.

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