Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition
Chapter 2. McLuhan’s Methodology: Media as Extensions of Man and Mankind
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MCLUHAN’S METHODOLOGY: MEDIA AS EXTENSIONS OF MAN AND MANKIND
I am simply identifying modes of experience. We need new perceptions to cope. Our technologies are generations ahead of our thinking. If you begin to think about these new technologies you appear as a poet because you are dealing with the present as the future. That is my technique.
—Marshall McLuhan (1997), The Hot and Cool Interview
2.1 There Was Method in His Madness
Marshall McLuhan’s style of research or exploration was completely unorthodox and was built on an interesting collection of influences including writers and artists such as Baudelaire, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, and Proust, and scholars including Henri Bergson, Elias Canetti, Siegfried Giedeon, E. H. Gombrich, Edward Hall, William Ivins, Lewis Mumford, I. A. Richards, Hans Selye, and Lynn White. But perhaps the greatest influence of all came from his colleague at the University of Toronto, the political economist Harold Innis (1951, 1950/1972), whose influence McLuhan (1972) readily credited in the foreword to the 1972 edition of Innis’s Empire and Communications, where he described his work “as a footnote to the observations of Innis.” ← 19 | 20 →
Innis and McLuhan formed the core of the Toronto School of Communications, which also included Eric Havelock and Ted Carpenter, the co-editor with McLuhan of the journal Explorations in Communications, along with McLuhan’s many co-authors listed in the footnote below.1
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