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McLuhan, Marshall

Joshua Meyrowitz


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Marshall McLuhan is best known for his theories on the impact of media apart from the specific content/messages they convey. McLuhan linked major historical shifts, social trends, and changes in psychological and sensory orientations to the influence of changes in communication media and other technologies (→  Technology and Communication ; Media History ). McLuhan ridiculed typical concerns about message imitation and persuasion in his most famous pun: “The medium is the message.” Herbert Marshall McLuhan was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1911 to a Scottish-Irish Baptist family. He earned degrees at the University of Manitoba and Cambridge University. He converted to Catholicism in 1937. His early training and lifelong passion were in English literature. But in trying to bridge the gap he perceived between himself and his students at his first US teaching job at the University of Wisconsin, he turned his attention to pop culture. His first book, The mechanical bride (1951), was on the content of advertising, a message-based approach he later rejected in favor of studying media environments. McLuhan began teaching at the University of Toronto in 1946 and founded the Centre for Culture and Technology there in 1963. He died in Toronto in 1980. At the University of Toronto, McLuhan was influenced by the work of political economist →  Harold Innis , who argued that communication media ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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