'Feted and reviled in his own lifetime, Marshall McLuhan has made a dramatic comeback in recent years. Marchessault gives a balanced and carefully considered appraisal of McLuhan’s contribution to cultural theory, which may be even more pertinent now, in the early twenty-first century, than when he originally formulated it in the 1950s and ‘60s' Jim McGuigan, Professor of Cultural Analysis, Loughborough University Why is McLuhan important? What use can we make of his approach to the media today? In this insightful critical introduction, McLuhan's contribution is carefully explained and his reputation reassessed. The book: · Explains McLuhan's key ideas · Engages with critical issues in media and contemporary art · Demonstrates the relevance of his work for students of media and communications · Addresses his methodological contribution · Revises our understanding of his place in the history of ideas. Illustrated with many examples from the network society, the book works as a guide to anyone who wants to know why McLuhan is important.
My computer was struck by lightning when I began work on this chapter. My logic board and the material on my hard drive disappeared, perhaps appropriately, into the galaxy. Everyone who has ever worked on a computer has experienced this loss of data and wondered where, in the ephemeral world the information has gone. Although these kinds of incidents are common, they nevertheless always remind us of the vulnerability of our information systems. This ‘outage’, perhaps not entirely the way McLuhan would have meant it, is a fine way to introduce the notion of human memory as it relates to electricity. As if anticipating the two incidents that he would suffer in his life, a brain tumour, which wiped out part of ...