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Abstract. Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited but least understood of communication theorists. This is particularly true in. PROFESSOR INNIS has written a pioneering book and made a serious contrib nology, we can discover the specific “bias of communication” in each perio. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Harold Innis and “the bias of communication | Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited.

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How do specific communication technologies operate? Andrej Skerlep rated it really liked it Aug 09, It would thus be a mistake to consider Innis a technological determinist: Marshall McLuhan, deeply influe One of the most influential books ever published in Canada, “The Bias of Communication” has played a major part in reshaping our understanding of what constitutes history.

Globe and MailSept. Sad to say, I splayed another motherfucking shotgun blast of coffee all over page fifty-three— Monopolies of Knowledgeaye—at which point my shoulders drooped sufficient to chat with my knees and I could acutely visualize the noose dangling from the bedroom ceiling.

He establishes a dialectic between media with a time-bias and those with a space-bias: In writing, the tendency is to isolate an aspect of some matter and to direct steady attention upon that aspect.

It is often a question of balance.

This is still problematic. Technology and the Canadian Mind: Influenced by Innis’s communications theories, historian Marshall Poe proposed a theory on the genesis of new media.

They are associated with secular and territorial societies; they facilitate the expansion of empire over space. Empire and Communicationsand The Bias of Communication Evolution and Trends in Digital Media:: Power was vested therefore, in a scribal and literate, religious elite.

The Bias of Communication

Biographer John Watson warns against the tendency to apply Innis’s concept of media ‘bias’ in a mechanical or deterministic way. This is a difficult but rewarding read. I was turned on to “The Bias of Communication” after seeing it referenced multiple times by high-caliber innovators on my Twitter feed. For Innis, a survival strategy requires that we take “persistent action at strategic points against American imperialism communicatkon all its attractive disguises See also, Heyer, pp.


On the other hand, societies that depend on space-biased media such as printed newspapers and books tend to favour abstract thought and control over space.

Business done in back rooms or in the corridors of power are often never reported in the media. For example, Innis claims that empires use their media whether its papyrus or the radio toward a bias of either time through durable media like stone, clay, parchment or space through non-durable media like papyrus, paper, electronic. One of the most influential books ever published in Canada, “The Bias of Communication” has played a major part in reshaping our understanding of what constitutes history.

They include modern media such as radio, television, and mass circulation newspapers that convey information to many people over long distances, but have short exposure times. Advantages accrue to those who have the knowledge first.

At any given period, Innis argued, the pattern of Canadian economic development was based on the physical characteristics of a particular biae and the methods by which it was extracted and carried to distant markets.

The development of “mechanized” communications media such as mass-circulation newspapers had shifted the balance decisively in favour of space and power, over time, continuity and knowledge. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. In the beginning, which for Innis means Mesopotamia, there was clay, the reed stylus used to write on it, and the wedge-shaped cuneiform script.

The Byzantine empire emerged from a fusion of a bias incidental to papyrus in relation to political organization and of parchment in relation to ecclesiastical organization. Time-biased mediasuch as stone and clay, are durable and heavy.


The Bias of Communication by Harold A. Innis

In ‘Minerva’s Owl’, Innis aptly states, “Enormous improvements in communication have made understanding more difficult”. Trivia About The Bias of Commu Innis elaborated on his distinctions between time-biased and space-biased media in Empire and Communications:.

Any empire or society is generally concerned with duration over time and extension in space. The latest issue of the online academic journal Persona Studies is now available. Well, I can see where McLuhan got a lot of his ideas. Innis believed that the overwhelming oc bias of modern media was heightened in the United States by the development of powerful military technologies, including atomic weapons. Empires that biqs up tended to be biased towards space control over a large area or time continuing control for a long timedepending on the dominant medium in use by the empire.

Industrial societies cut time into precise fragments suitable to engineers and accountants [23] and Western civilization suffered from an “obsession with present-mindedness” that eliminated concerns about past or future. First published inthis masterful collection of essays explores the relationship between a Inevitably, however, the “impact biae writing uarold printing on modern civilization increases the difficulties of understanding a civilization based on the oral tradition” The emphasis on change is the only permanent characteristic.

To begin our communicatjon into this area, he suggests we ask three basic questions:. The god of writing was closely related to the leading deities and reflected the power of the scribe over religion. Skja76 rated it it was amazing Sep 21, They literally spoke the language of the masses, effectively penetrating popular consciousness and shaping public opinion.