This week’s lecture and readings both covers the -nature- of communication. Communication can be described through a three-tiered process.

  • Thought- existing within the mind of the sender. This includes concepts, ideas, information and feelings.
  • Encoding- The message is sent to a receiver via words or other symbols.
  • Decoding- This step involves the translation of words/symbols into information that a person is able to understand.

The importance of this three-tiered process is that media is the medium for communicative information.

The readings for this week reflect the the theories of communication through media by differing theorists.

Innis’ theory revolves around the idea that materials of the media change the forms of civilisation, what he calls an “empire”.

McLuhan’s main concept is that the “medium is the message”; cultural significance of media does not lie in content but the way it alters our perception of the world. He believes media as an extension of the sensory capacity of people. For example in the Theoretical Frameworks reading, McLuhan describes computer as an extension of the brain; tools are extensions of human manual skills.

On the contrary of McLuhan who is a media optimist, Baudrillard poses an opposing view, that mass media represents reality. He believes that the medium is the model such as behaviour, perceptions, knowledge of the world, sense of self and also reality.

Similarly to Baudrillard, both Kitttler (a German post structuralist philosopher) and Friedrich (a media theorist) are media pessimists. They believe that as opposed to the technologies becoming a reflection of humans, that humans are becoming a reflection of technology, especially information based media.  (describing us as technology’s “pawns”). They reflect this with the idea of wars, that wars now take place between different media, information technologies and data flows as opposed to fighting for land etc.

Virilio discusses the concept of dromology (The Guardian). He believes that ‘speed’ influenced by technological innovations could be our “death”. Media is speeding up too fast and we are losing touch with the world. “The more speed increases, the faster freedom decreases,” he says. Although we use technology to eliminate distance through media’s fast speed, Virilio believes that the class struggle is replaced by the struggle of the technological bodies of the armies according to their dynamic efficiency.

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