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Understanding McLuhan: television and the creation of the global village.

A spectre haunts the infosphere. Marshall McLuhan, who died in 1980, still informs fast-forward-looking disc-course. Wired Magazine (and its on-line version, HotWired) list Marshall McLuhan on their mastheads as "patron saint." New editions of his books appear. His "probing" theories have become the focus (to use an optical/mechanical metaphor) of several often-visited web sites and newsgroups. A revaluation seems warranted (even if presented in the retrograde medium of print) ... JK

For Marshall McLuhan, electronic technologies represented "contradiction," they constitute the future. With their advent, he hypothesized, they would become a threat to phonetic literacy because, as extensions of our nervous systems rather than our corporeal bodies, they turn us inside out. For that reason these technologies are, in contrast to the linear-mechanical ones, all encompassing, organismic, circular, tactile, emotional, and affective. In that sense they are cool media: there is low definition input to all the senses rather than just one, meaning information is necessarily incomplete. This leaves the participant to fill in the gaps. As such, these new technologies must, by necessity, lead to unstoppable changes to individual and societal thinking and behavior. Progress in this direction will continue with or without permission or consciousness of the effects it will bring to Western society. (1)

McLuhan argued that those changes would lead to implosion, not explosion. The world, he said, would fall in on itself. The globe would become joined through the blood system of electric wires that would shrink the planet into a single community with an all-inclusive nowness. And a smaller world obviates time - its relevance no longer important to a worldwide society where nothing or no one ever stops. Time and space become timelessness and spacelessness. The result is a Global Village based on a single consciousness in the preliterate oral tradition.

Television, for many, is still the ultimate in electric progress. (2) But, if television is bringing the changes hypothesized by McLuhan, how exactly is it achieving these ends? How does participation in the cool medium of television effect changes in viewers and therefore society? How does the involvement necessary to "fill in the gaps" lead to changes in behavior at a level most are not even aware of? This paper will attempt to answer those questions as follows: first, by ascertaining how the Global Village may actually be developing by relying on the ideas of Joshua Meyrowitz, Erving Goffman and Edward Hall; second, by drawing a link between watching television and interpersonal interaction; and finally, by explaining why viewers pay attention to television in the first place.


a. Frames and Situational Behavior Defined

McLuhan argued that the previous mechanical technologies based upon visual linearity had made man essentially physically and socially static. (3) However, electric technologies such as television were seen as catalysts toward an interconnected, organismic, and holistic Global Village. Television can achieve this end because it radically and permanently alters situational definitions and their consequent behaviors with global uniformity as the inevitable result. Situational definitions, or framing, is a formulation developed by sociologist Erving Goffman. He hypothesized that in every physical and place-based situation, all the individuals contained therein will in some fashion ask themselves "What is it that's going on here?" (4) Each individual will try to answer that question by framing the situation in a manner that makes the interpersonal encounter understandable. Similarly, every time the situation shifts, an individual will have to shift frames appropriately.

Frames allow a quick and easy way to put useful personal and social meanings to events. Mass communication scholars define them as "social or personal definitions of situations that are used to organize actions in those situations." (5) The chosen frame will not only dictate the appropriate rules and roles of each situation, but the requisite situational behavior and the information-flow that takes place among the contained individuals as well. Thus, situational behavior and information-flow are determined as much by those who are included as those excluded because the boundaries and barriers that are inherent in physical and place-based locations tend to include certain people at the expense of others. For example, if a person is among "friends" he will behave differently and receive different information than from a situation where he is among his "enemies." Further, because most situations occur in a physical location, when the location changes so too does the situation.

Every person in a situation expects that the others contained therein will frame the situation appropriately. Each individual in a situation can "aid" the others by providing necessary cues in order to induce "appropriate" behavior. Still, it may not always be possible to exactly frame each situation. There may be vagueness where a question exists as to "what it is that's going on" or uncertainty where it is unclear which of two or more things are possibly occurring. (6) When vagueness or uncertainty occurs, an expert is often called on to provide interpretation and thereby restore order to the process. (7) Thus, if framing difficulties do occur, they tend to be only temporary in nature.

Despite the seeming complexity of the framing process, such irregularities were thought to be unlikely in interpersonal communication because ordinarily, "what the participants bring (and are known to bring) of their past involvements to the current one, as well as the context of gestures, and objects in the current environment, combine to rule out all effectively different meanings." (8) The framing process in most situations is intuitive; becoming a problem only when not done correctly. Indeed, little conscious effort is needed since "at any given time, a society's situations tend to be highly conventionalized and finite in number, rather than idiosyncratic and infinite." (9) Accordingly, in a physical and placed-based society, social life is based primarily on a relatively static social system. In the stasis created by the difficulties in overcoming both physical and social place, rules regarding proper situational framing can be developed and maintained in space, over time.

b. Frames, Situational Behavior, Television and the Emerging Global Village

Based on the above conception, any society has a series of frames which it uses in an attempt to govern the behavior of its citizens. These frames constitute a main element of a society's culture and for that reason the consequent behaviors are culture specific. (10) Individuals receive these frameworks as part of the socialization process: they adapt to social life by learning the culture's stock of situational definitions. (11) Edward Hall's complementary three-pronged theory demonstrates how those essentially static frames can be changed.

His triad of learning involved formal, technical, and informal aspects. Formal learning is accomplished by precept and admonition. When a mistake is made it is corrected without any reason for the correction. It is a binary form of learning with all elements being either right or wrong based on how things have been done in the past. Technical learning is accomplished in the same manner except that a reason is given for the change; it is akin to classroom-learning. Of more importance here, though, is informal learning. It is accomplished through unconscious vicarious imitation where whole dusters of related activities and/or behaviors are learned at one time. A sport like baseball is an excellent example: one learns both actions and behaviors by example. Once these activities and behaviors are learned they become automatic to such a degree that if a person becomes aware of them, it often hinders the activity and/or behavior. (12) Basically then, it would be consistent to argue that the framing process, as set out above, is learned informally and vicariously. But changes can occur in a culture's overall pattern of frames because small adaptations are made vicariously and unconsciously every day through informal learning when new situations and behaviors are observed and imitated. If those adaptations prove positive in some respect they become actual changes which become technalized in the culture. It is here then, in the area of out-of-awareness informal and vicarious adaptations, that adaptations take root which eventually lead to overall cultural changes.

Today, television is providing an incredible amount of new frames and situational behavior for vicarious observation and imitation. Never before have so many been available for experience. It can accomplish this because, as a medium of communication, it was the first to truly overcome the physical and space-based limitations of a print-oriented society. The nature of the medium has lessened the need for physical presence and direct experience. It is not as necessary when a person can "actually" see and hear other places and peoples.

Television accomplishes these changes in two basic ways. First, television blurs the distinctness between situational behaviors. Generally, when two or more situations are distant in terms of time and space, individuals can more easily vary their behavior from one situation to the other; the converse is also true. (13) For example, the ability to accept a person, a teacher perhaps, in their particular role depends on a lack of knowledge of them in other situations; it becomes harder for students to accept the authority of their teachers if television constantly portrays teachers outside of the classroom as "regular" people without any inherent power. Second, television affects situational definitions because it bypasses traditional boundaries of information-flow: "Those aspects of group identity, socialization, and hierarchy that were once dependent on physical locations and the special experiences available in them have been altered by the electronic media." (14) For example, individuals within the same socioeconomic group generally have access to similar kinds of situations, each of which provides a specific type of information-flow that regulates behavior. It is not usually possible for the member of one group to have access to many situations of others in different socio-economic echelons. However, television bypasses the traditional boundaries which kept the two tiers separate, thereby allowing each to have access to the previously "private" situations of the other.

Thus, through the presentation of both real and fictional events, television removes the barriers of physical and social place. This leads to certain societal effects which can be summarized in a four-fold typology. (15) First, previously distinct varieties of content become homogenized as all groups become exposed to similar material through television which in turn forces the medium to produce content catering to the combined audience. Second, the new situational behaviors caused by television are in turn depicted in program content. Third, the content of programs changes to include the new information that was initially made available by television. Finally, the print media are forced to adopt the standards of the electronic media in determining their form and content. In the end, television "not only affect[s] the way people behave, but ... eventually affect[s] the way people feel they should behave." (16)

The consequences of watching television, therefore, lies beyond the realm of mere content, be it of high or low cultural value. Here, the "medium is the message." As McLuhan stated: "For the 'message' of any medium or technology is the change in scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs." (17) Because television promotes new behaviors by providing new situations that were heretofore not available for experience, the content of a particular program is not as relevant as the portrayal of how one should frame and behave in a particular situation. So, for example, within a variety of programming formats, television provides demonstrations of acceptable social behaviors such as how to kiss, smoke, dance and dress; but more importantly, it provides cues concerning when those behaviors are acceptable. Viewers will, through this process, develop new individual frames for situations they may encounter in everyday life. These new frames are then actually used in everyday life with either positive or negative repercussions. If they are positively reinforced by others, the new frames will continue to be used; if not, the new frames will be re-evaluated. (18) But the process is perpetual: if an individual receives negative feedback from the use of a television-induced frame, but then sees the same frame again presented on television, that individual may not be disinclined to stop using the particular frame. It is through these behavioral shifts that culture can change.

The above generally deals with how television may affect one particular society. But now, by means of trans-national television programming received through cable and satellite transmission, it is possible for one nation to "enter" the space of another nation. This further blurring of physical place means the common experience of one nation, theoretically, could become the common experience of another nation. For purposes of explication, some effects of American television programming on Canadian culture can be considered here.

Canada is somewhat unique in that it has faced this problem since the birth of radio; most Canadians were able to receive American over-the-air transmissions as they lived within 100 miles of the border. With television, Canadians have been able to develop new frames through exposure to both Canadian and American sources although Canadians have always turned, in far greater numbers, to American programming. (19) They thereby encounter many more of the new American frames for new American situations as well as their consequent behaviors which can then be used as potential frames to take back into their everyday encounters. However, many Canadian situational behaviors do not mirror American ones for they developed when physical and place-based differentiation was possible. Likewise, many Canadian frames are not the same as American frames, causing friction to ensue when American television frames are taken by individual Canadians into everyday Canadian situations. Ultimately, however, if those American media frames come to be prevalent in Canadian society, they will replace Canadian frames thereby changing Canadian behavior. It is through this process, the Americanization of situational behaviors, that Canadian culture is affected by American television.

This is not meant to suggest a strictly one-way process. Although American media products have infiltrated many countries, satellite and cable capabilities should eventually allow all countries to penetrate all others. Obviously this has not as of yet happened. Still, the possibility for a seamless web of experience exists and therefore, the possibility of a true Global Village.


Despite the fact that individuals see and hear new social and physical places across vast distances in the comfort of their own homes, many viewers come to believe that they actually "know" the places and people they have visited. Again, irrespective of the actual content, the more the viewers come to believe they know the characters, the more the frames and situational behaviors used by the characters should influence the viewers. However, it is not particularly difficult for viewers to get to "know" the characters because everyday interpersonal communication frames are used to code the television representations. (20) This process is aided through television's ability to promote parasocial interaction, in part through the use of nonverbal communication.

a. Parasocial Interaction

Horton and Wohl were the first to deal explicitly with such pseudo-relationships. They argued that television is able to achieve parasocial interaction because, as a medium, it gives the illusion of a face-to-face relationship with the performer. (21) It is intimacy at a distance. Television characters, whatever their particular station in their fictional life, are encountered as if they were members of the viewers' social group. (22) The characters are seen as real friends, and viewers come to believe they actually know them. Parasocial interaction, based on the above or similar conceptualizations, has been found to exist between viewers and newscasters (23), viewers and entertainers (24), and viewers and celebrities in television commercials. (25) Other researchers have also found pseudo-relationships or concepts similar to parasocial interaction in their studies. (26) The power of such relationships is evident in the fact that viewers sometimes seek to actually meet their parasocial friends and thereby overstep the proper bounds of these types of interactions. (27) This should not be particularly surprising considering enculturation into such an imaginary world of pseudo-social relationships is said to begin for many when they are children. (28)

Horton and Wohl recognized, though, that there was an essential difference between parasocial interaction and actual communication. Nevertheless, they saw parasocial interaction as containing elements of both interpersonal and vicarious interaction. (29) The latter type of interaction is the key element. It can be defined as the ability to follow the interactions of others without overtly taking part: the viewer takes the roles of the various actors alternatively and reciprocally. Indeed, vicarious interaction has been linked to parasocial interaction. (30) Further, vicarious interaction can also be seen as essentially similar to the way one informally learns frames and behaviors.

Parasocial interaction increases the more that viewers enter a state of willing disbelief and forget that what they are actually viewing is just a television program. (31) Indeed, a relationship between the two concepts has been found. (32) Thus, the greater the state of willing disbelief, the greater the likelihood the viewer will evaluate the program along interpersonal lines. Accordingly, it is not a far leap to an idea that postulates that parasocial relationships develop in a similar manner to interpersonal relationships. Indeed, Caughey stated that media interaction directly parallels interpersonal interaction. (33) While this may be something of an overstatement, studies have shown an interplay between the two types of interactions. For example, A.M. Rubin and Perse found a link between uncertainty reduction theory for initial interpersonal encounters and parasocial interaction. (34) Under the former theory, individuals seek out information to reduce their uncertainty about the other person in the interaction; the more uncertainty goes down the more liking increases. This tends to happen over time. Other studies have also found some support for the use of the uncertainty reduction theory. (35)

Further, there are similarities between interpersonal friendship and parasocial friendship. (36) First, both are based on voluntary interaction and involve a personal focus. One can choose what to watch on television just as one can choose a friend. (37) Second, both friendship and parasocial interaction serve companionship, utility, and self-disclosure functions. Third, attraction appears to be a precursor to both relationships: television viewers develop parasocial interactions with the characters they find socially, physically, and task attractive. (38)

b. Nonverbal Communication

There is much more to communication than the exchange of sounds. The whole silent realm of nonverbal language needs to be considered: "Spatial changes give a tone to communication, accent it, and at times even override the spoken word. The flow and shift of distance between people as they interact with each other is part and parcel of the communication process." (39)

It may seem strange to consider television as involving these elements. But it does: through illusions designed specifically to employ the technical aspects inherent in the medium. McLuhan argued that the third dimension, which is by necessity alien to television, can be superimposed with set design. (40) The illusion with respect to space increases the likelihood that viewers will enter a willing state of disbelief with respect to television because many of the subtle spatial nuances of daily interpersonal life are provided on the screen. Consequently, viewers become more inclined to engage in parasocial interaction.

In this regard, Meyrowitz speculated that television makes use of the silent language of space as developed by Hall through "para-proxemic" tools. (41) For example, the television shots themselves generally make use of four spatial zones: intimate, personal, social, and public. In this way the viewer sees variation of distance within the shot and thereby the relationship of the characters on the screen. Thus, it is not the absolute size of the figure that is the key variable in determining response, rather it is the relative size of the figure within the frame. This, according to Meyrowitz, is the manner in which individuals judge distance in everyday life. Likewise, the shot gives the viewer different orientations to the scene: the shot can be "objective," meaning the viewer sees the action as a vicarious observer, or it can be "subjective," meaning the viewer sees the action directly through the eyes of one particular character. As well, through the camera, the characters can establish mutual eye contact, express fidelity, and can confide with the audience - all of which are elements of interpersonal friendships. (42)


None of the above would make any significant difference if viewers were not actively paying attention to what was transpiring on their television screens. However, many scholars persist in viewing the audience as passive recipients of content. For them, the effects of the content itself, not the medium, is the main problem. Viewers under this and similar conceptions of passivity are seen as mere repositories for information broadcast by networks and other television outlets.

This view was sharply criticized by McLuhan: "The banal and ritual remark of the conventionally literate, that TV presents an experience for passive viewers is wide of the mark. TV is above all a medium that demands a creatively participant audience." (43) McLuhan argued that audience involvement took place because of the coolness of the medium; program content was irrelevant, because television was low in definition and it was high in participation. For him, the television picture was merely a series of dots out of which only a few dots are used to shape an image. As such, it was visually low in data leaving viewers to fill in the detail. He further argued that improvements to the television image would turn the medium into something else, possibly a hot medium such as film. (44) Television technology has indeed improved. The broadcast picture is no longer merely a series of disjointed dots out of which an image can be culled. Increasingly, television has been able to achieve higher resolution, a process that will be further encouraged when high-definition television sets become widely available. This increasing definition, though, should not radically change the nature of television viewing. It can be still be argued that, relative to film and to print, television is still a cool medium. Perhaps it is not as cold as it once was, but is still cool nonetheless. Consequently, the McLuhanesque conception of an active, creatively participant audience should still be applicable.

If, however, one does not subscribe to such a conception, there is other evidence for an active audience. As was pointed out above, in the section on television's link to interpersonal communication, television is also able to activate viewers' subjective involvement, by relying on its own inherent characteristics such as the instigation of parasocial interaction. Audience activity, though, is also affected in the way in which it offsets or bypasses the uses and characteristics of earlier media, namely print. (45) In order to learn how to use any particular medium, a person has to learn how to encode and decode its messages; therefore, only those who have the requisite skills can participate in the medium. In linear print-based media, use is restricted to those who have the access code: the knowledge of how to read and write. (46) In addition, with print, different access codes exist for different levels of understandings. No person has access to all the codes right from the outset; for example, a child must learn to read Dr. Seuss stories before graduating to the Hardy Boys (or Nancy Drew) mysteries. Therefore, messages can be and are directed to particular segments of the population. (47) Similarly, specialized jargon can develop in certain literature (like this paper) that excludes a certain portion of the population.

With television, however, the access code is hardly a code at all; it has only one degree of complexity. It is easy to use and its easiness engenders participation. Once a person learns how to watch and listen, he can watch and listen to almost anything; it's true that the person may not understand everything but the same is true for real-life situations. As McLuhan noted, "Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences his behavior, especially in collective matters of media and technology, where the individual is almost inevitably unaware of their effect upon him." (48) Further, unlike print, there is no set sequence in watching television programs: it is not necessary for a child to graduate from Dr. Seuss television cartoons to Hardy Boys programs. As a result, television allows a much greater sharing of information between different sections of the population; there is a great similarity in how people watch the medium, regardless of actual physical or social place. And because television provides its information to all who have a receiver, no information elite should be created unlike under the specialized and segregated print-based information-systems. (49)


A careful reading would seem to leave open the following questions: "what about the different languages spoken in the world?" Or, are the problems of understanding, as set out by various general semanticists, no longer applicable? It is true that the people of the world speak different languages which often hinders the free flow of information from television. However, electronic technology has vast implications for language: it does not need it. Electronic technology extends consciousness itself on a worldwide scale thereby obviating the need to verbalize. As McLuhan stated:

Today computers hold out the promise of a means of instant translation of any code or language into any other code or language. The computer, in short, promises by technology a Pentecostal condition of universal understanding and unity. The next logical step would be, not to translate, but to bypass language in favor of a general cosmic consciousness which might be very like [a] collective consciousness. (50)

However, this Pentecostal condition is seemingly still in the future. At this point language still holds the seed of grave differences among people. It is still a "hindrance" to the development of the Global Village.

Nevertheless, television, as the current ultimate fulfillment of electronic technology, has gone to extraordinary lengths toward bridging the gaps between the world's peoples despite language differences. It has done this, in part, by translating the language tracks. But more importantly, it has bridged the gap by overcoming space and place-based limitations for people all over the world. By doing so, the medium of television gives viewers the ability to experience new situations with their inherent frames and consequent behaviors. That ability leads to changes in culture as the frames and behaviors experienced through television are unconsciously absorbed, or informally learned, by individuals and taken into society. This is made easier because television activates the audience through its ease of use and in the way it promotes both parasocial interaction and nonverbal communication. This fact links television viewing to interpersonal communication, something almost all people have experience in. Thus, the more that people watch television, the greater the speed of the coming of the Global Village.


1. Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1994), 47: "Man is the sex organs of the machine world."

2. It is the ultimate because, unlike the newer computer technologies, far more people have televisions, and those who don't (i.e. in the developing world) are likely to purchase one before they buy a computer.

3. McLuhan, 38.

4. E. Goffman, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1974), 8. Place here is defined broadly enough to include both physical place and social place.

5. D.K. Davis and S.J. Baran, Mass Communication and Everyday Life (California: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1981), 69 [hereinafter Baran and Davis].

6. Goffman, 303.

7. This is the most likely reason behind the reliance of U.S. network news on experts during times of crisis. A similar occurrence often takes place with respect to rumors.

8. Goffman, 441.

9. Joshua Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 25. See also Baran and Davis, 70.

10. Goffman, 288.

11. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, 24.

12. Hall, 67-68, 72.

13. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, 42.

14. Ibid., 125.

15. Ibid. 176-180.

16. Ibid., 174-175.

17. McLuhan, 8.

18. Several elements may come into play here: diffusion of information, communication networks, and possibly the two-step flow theory.

19. 75% of all programming viewed in Canada is foreign-produced. See, for example, S. Surlin, et al. "TV Network News: A Canadian-American Comparison," paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Canadian Communication Association, the International Communication Association, and the Quebec Communication Research Association, Montreal, Quebec, May 1987, 15, nt.11.

20. Baran and Davis, 89.

21. D. Horton and R.R. Wohl, "Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction," in Drama in Life: The Uses of Communication in Society, eds. J.E. Combs and M.W. Mansfield (New York: Hastings House, 1976), 212. See also D. Horton, A.S. Strauss, "Interaction in Audience Participation Shows," American Journal of Sociology 62 (1957): 579-587, J. Meyrowitz, "Television and Interpersonal Behavior: Codes of Perception and Response," in Inter-Media: Interpersonal Communication in a Media World, 2nd ed., eds. G. Gumpert and R. Cathcart (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 221-241, and J. E. Nordlund, "Media Interaction." Communication Research 5 (1978) 150-175. The same is true to some extent for radio and movies.

22. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, 120.

23. R. Houlberg, "Local Television-News Audience and the Para-Social Interaction," Journal of Broadcasting 28 (1984): 423-429, M.R. Levy, "Watching TV-News as Para-Social Interaction," Journal of Broadcasting 23 (1979): 69-80, A.M. Rubin, E.M. Perse, and R.A. Powell, "Loneliness, Parasocial Interaction, and Local Television News Viewing," Human Communication Research 12 (1985): 155-180.

24. Nordlund, 150-175.

25. N.M. Alperstein, "Imaginary Social Relationships With Celebrities in Television Commercials," Journal of Broadcasting 35 (1991): 43-58.

26. J. Caughey, Imaginary Social Worlds: A Cultural Approach, (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1984). R. Schickel, Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity (New York: Doubleday, 1985). P.R. Snow, "Interaction with Mass Media: The Importance of Rhythm and Tempo," Communication Quarterly 35 (1987): 225-237. F. Koenig and G. Lessan, "Viewers' Relations to Television Personalities," Psychological Reports 57 (1985): 263-266.

27. L. Leets, G. De Becker and H. Giles, "Fans - Exploring Expressed Motivations for Contacting Celebrities," Journal of Language and Social Psychology 14 (1995): 102-123.

28. N.C. James and T. McCain, "Television Games Preschool Children Play: Patterns, Themes and Uses," Journal of Broadcasting 26 (1982): 783-800 and L. Reid and C. Frazer, "Television at Play," Journal of Communication 30(4) (1980): 66-73.

29. Horton and Wohl, 212-227. See also Horton and Strauss, 597-587.

30. Ibid., 212-227; A.M. Rubin, A.M. and E.M. Perse, "Audience Activity and Soap Opera Involvement: A Uses and Effects Approach," Human Communication Research 14 (1987): 246-268.

31. Horton and Wohl, 212-227.

32. E.M. Perse, "Media Involvement and Local News Effects," Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 34 (1990): 17-36 and A.M. Rubin and Perse, 246-268.

33. Caughey.

34. Parasocial interaction: A.M. Rubin and Perse, 246-268. Uncertainty reduction theory: C.R. Berger and R.J. Calabrese, "Some Explorations in Initial Interaction and Beyond: Toward a Developmental Theory of Interpersonal Communication," Human Communication Research 1 (1975) 99-112.

35. R.B. Rubin and M.P. McHugh, "Development of Parasodal Interaction Relationships," Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 31 (1987): 279-292; E.M. Perse and R.B. Rubin, "Attribution in Social and Parasocial Relationships," Communication Research 16 (1989): 59-77.

36. Ibid.

37. Interpersonal friendship: P.H. Wright, "Toward a Theory of Friendship Based on Conception of Self," Human Communication Research 4 (1978): 196-207. Parasocial interaction: K.E. Rosengren and S. Windhahl, "Mass Media Consumption as a Functional Alternative," in Sociology of Mass Communication, ed. D. McQuail (Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1972), 166-194.

38. A.M. Rubin and Perse, 246-268 and R.B. Rubin and McHugh, 279-292.

39. Hall, 175.

40. McLuhan, 313.

41. Meyrowitz, "Television and Interpersonal Behavior," 221-241.

42. Perse and R.B. Rubin, 59-77.

43. McLuhan, 336.

44. Ibid., 164 and 313.

45. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, 69.

46. Both Harold Innis and McLuhan have argued that it was on this basis that previous monopolies of knowledge developed. McLuhan, 82-83 and H.A. Innis, Empire and Communications (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1972).

47. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, 74-75.

48. McLuhan, 318.

49. Meyrowitz, No Sense of Place, 77-80. Information can obviously still be controlled, but not in the same manner as print.

50. McLuhan, 80.


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Michael Antecol is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Journalism, University of Missouri, Columbia.
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Author:Antecol, Michael
Publication:ETC.: A Review of General Semantics
Date:Dec 22, 1997
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