Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Yesterday, I gave a long preface to this post, a definition of medium theory from Joshua Meyrowitz's "Taking McLuhan and 'Medium Theory' Seriously: Technological Change and the Evolution of Education" (Technology and the Future of Schooling: Ninety-fifth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Part II. Ed. Stephen T. Kerr. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1996. 73-110).

Meyrowitz writes:

"I prefer using the term 'medium theory' to describe it, so that the essence of the argument and the contributions of other theorists become more visible. I use the singular, 'medium theory,' rather than 'media theory,' to describe this philosophical tradition because what makes it different from most other media theories is its focus on the characteristics of each individual medium or of each particular type of media. Medium theorists are interested in differentiating among media. Broadly speaking, media theorists ask: what are the relatively fixed features of each means of communicating and how do these features make the medium physically, psychologically, and socially different from other media and face-to-face interaction?" (79).

Most of the time I'm doing media studies or media ecology or even orality/literacy studies, that's exactly what I'm interested in doing. It is what I'm trying to figure out in my October 16, 2004 and October 19, 2004 posts, and it's why Professional Lurker was interested in those posts, which were first emails to TechRhet.

More of Merowitz's description of medium theory at Machina Memorialis.

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