Marshall McLuhan

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McLuhan, Marshall

(Herbert Marshall McLuhan), 1911–80, Canadian communications theorist and educator, b. Edmonton, Alta. He taught at the Univ. of Toronto (1946–80) and at other institutions of higher education in Canada and the United States. McLuhan gained popularity and fame in the 1960s with his prophetic proposal that electronic media, especially television, were creating a "global village" in which "the medium is the message," i.e., the means of communications has a greater influence on people than the information itself. While many of the mass media were in early stages of development, McLuhan considered their effects on people to be potentially toxic and dehumanizing. His books include The Mechanical Bride (1951), The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), Understanding Media (1964), From Cliché to Archetype (1970, with W. Watson), and City as Classroom (1977, with K. Hutchon and E. McLuhan).


See biographies by W. T. Gordon (1997) and D. Coupland (2010).

References in periodicals archive ?
Contrary to cool media, the features of hot media are high definition, low participation, and repellency.
However, the low definition of cool media (we have reached the consensus that spoken language and written language are the supreme forms of intellectual activities and visual image is the inferior form to interpret concepts) brings the watchers higher participation, but it does not improve their intelligence and ability of thinking.
As illustrated by the lines in The Matrix, participants are in the virtual environment produced by the low definition and high participation of the cool media.
McLuhan speculated that the new Cool Media would help revive old communitarian impulses and religious ritual associated with medieval Europe and the Catholic tradition as opposed to the rationalism and individualism that Protestantism and liberalism helped spread through the Hot Media.