Stefan Vladutescu: Communication medium/media

Stefan Vladutescu: Communication medium/media

By his books, “Gutenberg Galaxy” (1962) and “Understanding media” (1964), Canadian author  Marshall McLuhan, brings significant contribution to clarify  the status of communication medium. He starts from an idea, we should have said simple and common, if it has been definitive for contemporary vision on  medium: same message can have different social and individual significations and effects according to communication medium that assure transmission. In “Understanding media”, M. McLuhan asserts about it, that is an interaction axiom by which is lighted the role of broadcasting techniques, “the medium is the message” (McLuhan M., 1964, p. 16).

 

The technologies created by human being, among which are communication medium, represents extends of its senses. When human being communicates thoughts, whatever used means (speaking, sculpture, draw, print), he externalizes them and by this he makes primary  the sense organ corresponding to that mean. The experience makes human being to be prepared for correlation of different communication technologies, because his perceptive systems  specialised along the time arrived to work in a normal status of synthesis. Human being takes from environment communication medium and interiorize them, what determs in time, by this to reshape the perceptive system. The culture sustains Marshall McLuhan, covers three fundamentals stages : oral, visual, (reading and writing) and audiovisual. The second stage is Gutenberg Galaxy (printing age), and the third stage is Marconi Galaxy (predominant are electronic communication medium : cinema, radio, television). Actual informational age technologies  are significant differentiated of previous communication medium (speaking  exclusive addressed to hearing, pattern destined eye) in that are extensions of whole nervous system  and ask for simultaneous channels to much more senses.

Before McLuhan, communication media, entered neutral in channel component, repute Canadian professor assesses it as cardinal element of communication process. He shows that the used media predetermines the message and exerts an important influence on receiver both by the its presence that assess a decoding type, and also by changing the  perceptual habitudes and, in time, spiritual structure, whatever communicated content.

It is not to be forgotten  that media assures not only significations transfer, but also their conservation  on different forms on a support : book, microfilm, tape, diskette etc (Buzărnescu Şt., 1996, p. 217).

Much as primitive, complex, adapted or not the semantic material that mediatises it, the mean is not a jelly and transparent part. It is by its own statute, as by its effects, a force and as any force has a direction, a meaning, an attitude, an orientation. Impartiality is not its rule, it is exception: “Does not exist neutral language”  (Ricardou J., 1980, p. 50) and much less a neutral mean.

It has to be clear the difference between codes and media. First “interferes“ thinking, the next “transmits” thinking expression. We have to deal first with codes or languages by which thinking is asserted and then we have to deal, medium by which are transmitted thinking  expression.

Medium is the mean of code and  extends the channel. As such, the code is a mean of first grade, and medium is a mean of second grade, a mean of the mean.

John Fiske uses the concept of medium both for voice and technical equipment of a radio station, defined it as “technical mean or basically physic for message conversion in an able signal  to be transmitted on a channel”. (Fiske J., 1990, p. 18).  M. McLuhan, and this is our option, considers that medium is only technical mean of transmission. In essence, the communication mean extends a

Marshall McLuhan is part of Circular-Interactional Paradigm, P2. He is that one who observe and highlite essential role of the communication mean is communication process. Marshall McLuhan defines media as extensions of human faculty: „All media are extensions of some human faculty – psyche or physical” (McLuhan M., 1964, p. 26).  According to so called formula McLuhan „the medium is the message”, he gives expression to idea that mean is putting significantly the impression on message, on human action and interaction. There is what he is saying: „In a culture like ours (…), in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from new scale that is introduced into our affair by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology” (McLuhan M., 1964, p.McLuhan clarifies: „the medium is the message’ because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and the form of human association and action” (McLuhan M., 1964, p. 9). The message value of the medium presents four aspects: cultural, individual, communicational and human. Among these, first two are revealed by Marshall McLuhan; the others are detached hermeneutical. Firs of all are two revelant acceptances of  M. McLuhan: a) cultural: in an evolved  and inertial culture, medium (as extension of  perceptive human means) impregnates the message with significations belongs of its extensive essence;  b) on individual stage, it conducts, commands, controls the interaction and action mode  of communication consumer. Much more there are to define  more two acceptances: c) on human stage: the medium that is used in communication by communicator agent transforme it, such as understanding and interpretation are ordered  by medium; d) on communicational stage: in communicational system, medium impresses , reshapes the significations of the message, reshapes the message. Also in P2, George Grebner shows that „media of communication are the means or vehicles capable of assuming forms that have characteristics of messages or that transmit messages” (Gerbner G., 1967, p. 44).

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