media determinism

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A synonym for technological determinism as applied to claims about the ‘impact’ of new media technologies on society, institutions, groups, and/or individuals. The term is often applied to the stance of McLuhan, who made this observation about printing, for instance: ‘Socially, the typographic extension of man brought in nationalism, industrialism, mass markets, and universal literacy and education’ (see also McLuhanism). Such dramatic generalizations are widely criticized as a reductionist explanation of complex social changes. Friedrich Kittler (b.1943), a German media theorist, explicitly refers to his own stance, inflected by poststructuralism, as media determinism.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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