McLuhan and the Cultural Theory of Media

Mark Poster


Media are surely central to Western societies of the past several centuries and to the emerging global societies of the contemporary era and the future. There is a thickening, an intensification and an increasing complexity to the use of information machines, technologies that are necessary in the production, reproduction, storing and distribution of texts, images and sounds, the constituent elements of culture. The phenomenon has been termed a “media ecology,” adding a new layer to the ecologies of animal, vegetable and mineral. It behooves anyone engaged in critical discourse to take serious account of media. I argue they offer a key to understanding the process of globalization in relation to a new configuration of interaction between humans and machines.


media, panopticon, critical theory, societies of control, discipline, Marshall McLuhan, cultural theory

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