Introduction to the Field
Until now, the academic foundations of media ecology have been passed down primarily in the form of edited volumes, often by students of Neil Postman, or are limited to a focus on Marshall McLuhan and/or Postman or some other individual important to the field. Those volumes are invaluable in pointing to key ideas in the field; they provide an important and informed account of the fundamentals of media ecology as set forth at the field’s inception. Yet there is more to the story.
Offering an accessible introduction, and written from the perspective of a «second generation» scholar, this single-authored work provides a unified, systematic framework for the study of media ecology. It identifies the key themes, processes, and figures in media ecology that have coalesced over the last few decades and presents an elegant schema with which to engage future exploration of the role of media in shaping culture and consciousness.
Dennis D. Cali offers a survey of a field as consequential as it is fascinating. Designed to be used primarily in media and communication courses, the book’s goal is to hone insight into the role of media in society and to extend the understanding of the themes, processes, and interactions of media ecology to an ever-broader intellectual community.
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- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2016. XXIV, 258 pp.
- About the author
- About the book
- Advance praise for Mapping Media Ecology
- This eBook can be cited
- Section One: Foundational Questions
- Chapter 1. What Is Media Ecology?
- Media Ecology as Metaphor
- Media Ecology as Theory Group
- Media Ecology as Bibliography (Great Books)
- Media Ecology as the Study of Media as Environments
- Media Ecology as Discipline
- Media Ecology as Metameme
- Media Ecology as Perspective
- Chapter 2. What Are the Primary Themes of Media Ecology?
- Chapter 3. What Are the Margins of Media Ecology?
- The Philosophy of Technology
- Computer-Mediated Communication
- Medium Theory
- Section Two: Canonical Figures
- Chapter 4. Marshall McLuhan—Canada’s and the Field’s Intellectual Comet
- Religious Influence
- Mentors’, Colleagues’, and Students’ Influence
- Scholarly Contributions
- Chapter 5. Walter J. Ong: Voice of Consciousness in Orality-Literacy
- Geographic Influence
- Jesuit Influence
- Scholarly Contributions
- Dialogic Orientation
- Chapter 6. Jacques Ellul: Prophet of La Technique
- Scholarly Contributions
- Section Three: Orality-Literacy Studies
- Chapter 7. Orality-Literacy Studies
- Eric Havelock: Hound of the Homeric State of Mind
- Jack Goody: Domesticator of the Savage Mind
- Elizabeth Eisenstein: Historian of the Printing Press
- Section Four: Technology Studies
- Chapter 8. Technology Studies
- Neil Postman: “Postman” of a Field and of a Moral Message
- Lewis Mumford: Postindustrial Prophet and Field Forerunner
- Albert Borgmann: Detective of Device Design and Philosopher of Focal Practices
- Section Five: Culture Studies
- Chapter 9. Culture Studies
- James Carey: Restoring Conversation and Ritual in Communication
- Edmund Snow Carpenter: “Phantom” of the Field
- Camille Paglia: Fiery Phenom and Culture Critic
- Section Six: Bias Studies
- Chapter 10. Bias Studies
- Harold Adams Innis: Herald of Communication Studies
- Daniel Joseph Boorstin: Surveyor of Pseudo-Reality
- Jean Baudrillard: Hyper-Intellectual of the Hyperreal
- Section Seven: Language Studies
- Chapter 11. Language Studies
- Alfred Korzybski: Mapping Semantic Environments
- Susanne Langer: Finding a New Key to Symbolic Transformation
- Benjamin Lee Whorf: Relating Language to Culture and Cognition
- Section Eight: “Doing” Media Ecology
- Chapter 12. Doing Media Ecology
- Multiple Approaches
- A Roadmap for Doing Media Ecology
- Springboards for Media Ecological Study
- Series index
Chapter 6. Jacques Ellul: Prophet of La Technique
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JACQUES ELLUL: PROPHET OF LA TECHNIQUE
Of the triumvirate of scholars considered canonical figures in the field of Media Ecology, Jacques Ellul (1912–1994) is the only one who hails from Europe (McLuhan and Ong were both from North America whereas Ellul was born, lived, and worked in France). He differs from the other scholars in other significant ways as well.
One distinguishing feature concerns the early influences upon his thinking. He is unique among the three in his initial adherence to Marxist thought. Such early devotion may have resulted from his family’s poverty and the inability of his father to find work. The Nazi invasion and experience associated with the French Resistance Movement may have also been contributory factors. Ellul is also unique in his legal training, having acquired a doctoral degree in Roman law and history. Another distinction concerns his explicit scholarly attention to theological matters. While McLuhan referenced such matters and Ong wrote essays and theological and religious books apart from his writing on orality and literacy, their religious analyses were more typically tacit or implied whereas Ellul wrote overtly about the theme of being “in the world ← 95 | 96 → but not of the world.” His attention to religious themes arose out of his Christian conversion just prior to beginning college studies at the University of Bordeaux (France). Shortly after his conversion, he, like Ong, embraced Personalist convictions but later divested himself of...
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