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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In Empire and CommunicationsInnis wrote that the ebb and flow of Egypt’s ancient empire partly reflected weaknesses or limitations imposed by “the inflexibility of religious institutions supported by a monopoly over a complex system of writing”:. He looked at media that led to the growth of an empire; those that sustained it during its periods of success, and then, the communications changes that hastened an empire’s collapse. They are associated with secular and territorial societies; they facilitate the expansion of empire over space.

In an essay for this new edition, Innis biographer Alexander John Watson examines the reasons why Innis, at the height of his success as an economic historian, embarked on new research areas of communications and empire, as well as the ways in which Marshall McLuhan’s interpretations of Innis changed and de-politicized Innis’s work.

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Innis considers the “significance of communication to the rise and decline of cultural traits” Phil Nichols rated it really liked it Dec 25, Innis makes it quite clear that the character of this writing is what made it amenable to the creation of a monopoly over knowledge Empirep In his presidential address to the Royal Society of CanadaInnis remarked: Space-biased media are more ephemeral.

If you find the book slowing down, jump to the final chapter, “A Critical Review” for an ultimate synthesis of Innis’s ideas — which were completely groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting at the time of publication. The latest issue of the online academic journal Persona Studies is now available.

Monopolies of knowledge encourage centralization of power. The conquest of Egypt by Rome gave access to supplies of papyrus, which became the basis of a large harol empire.

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The emphasis on change is the only permanent characteristic. Innis sees a dialectical relationship between society and technology: Innis invites us instead to consider the formalities of power exerted by these structures in their mutual interaction.

The boundaries innks the empire shift, expanding and contracting. Innis focuses on the effects which the specific form of the media has and how it effects time, space, knowledge, and or I was turned on to “The Bias of Communication” after seeing it referenced multiple times by high-caliber innovators on my Twitter feed. The encounter of European traders from the imperial centres of Commuication and Britain with the aboriginal tribes of North America that Innis chronicled in The Fur Trade in Canada is a poignant example of what can happen when two different civilizations meet one traditional and oriented to preserving its tribal culture in time and the other bent on spreading its influence over long distances.

The Bias of Communication by Harold A. Innis

They literally spoke the language of the masses, effectively penetrating popular consciousness and shaping public opinion.

However, if you can make it through the book — you’ll find deep insights into the way our modern communication system aka — The Internet functions and become more keen to the biases which result from its monopoly on space.

Economic history of Canada Communication theory. These interrelationships included the partnership between the knowledge and ideas necessary to create and maintain the empire, and the power or force required to expand and defend it.

The Bias of Communication

Harold Adams Innis, a political economist, is widely credited with initiating an important discourse on media from a distinctly Canadian perspective. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: The relative lightness or heaviness of the medium under consideration is not always a reliable indication of its particular bias. He directly influenced Marshall McLuhan and continues to be a central figure in communications theory.

First published inthis masterful collection of essays explores the relationship between a society’s communication media and biaw community’s ability to innie control over its development. They have little regard for tradition and when compared with oral societies, their ways of thinking are apt to be more rational, linear and impersonal.


He pointed for example, to the monasteries that spread throughout Off after innix fall of the Roman Empire. Innis warned however, that such generalizations tended to obscure the differences between empires. Its influence is still reflected in the work of Canadian scholars most skeptical about America’s cold war leadership. 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.

Yet, many now see it as a Canadian classic because it “has sufficient detail in its analysis and originality to be regarded as a landmark book. Since they are difficult to move, they do not encourage territorial expansion; however, since they have a long life, they do encourage the extension of empire over time. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The communicatkon of “production value” in design, recording, television, and Hollywood movies makes it difficult for lower budget artifacts to compete for attention.

Well, I can harod where McLuhan got a lot of his ideas. The Bias of Communication. Foucault, throughout his writings on the dynamic between knowledge and power, insisted that neither is, in fact, a commodity even though it is often treated as such–one cannot own power; power is a barold which must continually be reasserted for its continuance.

Control of Raw Materials for Media: Over and over, Innis juxtaposes the need for continuity with the need for claiming territory, a balance of concerns central to the enterprise of empire building, and significantly determined by media of communication: Return to Book Page. He also believed that change came from the margins of society, since people on the margins invariably developed their own media. From the end of WWII until his death inInnis worked steadily on an investigation of the social history of communication, studying the communication media of the last years.

More significantly than this, though, is the source of that monopoly.