Critical and International Perspectives
What does the phrase "ubiquitous media" actually mean? Individual definitions are just as varied and ubiquitous as the media to which they refer. As a result, there is to date no large-scale theoretical framework through which we can understand the term. The goal of this volume is to provide a diverse set of critical, theoretical, and international approaches useful to those looking for a more diverse and nuanced understanding of what ubiquitous media means analytically.
In contrast to other existing texts on mobile media, these contributions on mobile media are contextualised within a larger discussion on the nature and history of ubiquitous media. Other sections of this edited volume are dedicated to historical perspectives on ubiquitous media, ubiquitous media and visual culture, the role of ubiquitous media in surveillance, the political economy of ubiquitous media, and the way a ubiquitous media environment affects communities, spaces, and places throughout the world.
Chapter Ten: Ubiquitous Media and Monopolies of Knowledge: The Approach of Harold Innis (Edward Comor)
Ubiquitous Media and Monopolies of Knowledge
The Approach of Harold Innis1
Harold Adams Innis (1894–1952) began his career as a political economist and economic historian but beginning in the 1930s he turned his attention more to questions concerning culture, media, and civilizational survival. Known today mainly for his “staples theory” of development and what came to be called “medium theory,” in retrospect, Innis charted the foundations of a broadly conceptualized dialectical materialist analysis of ubiquitous media. It is in relation to this that Innis forged a concept that is particularly germane to the subject of this book: what he called monopolies of knowledge.2
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