Abstract. Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited but least understood of communication theorists. This is particularly true in. PROFESSOR INNIS has written a pioneering book and made a serious contrib nology, we can discover the specific “bias of communication” in each perio. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Harold Innis and “the bias of communication | Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited.

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With printing, paper facilitated an effective development of the vernaculars and gave expression to their vitality in the growth of nationalism. For his first book, The History of the Fur Trade in Canadahe retraced many of the routes of the early fur traders. The encounter of European traders from the imperial centres of France and Britain with the aboriginal tribes of North America that Innis chronicled in The Fur Trade in Canada is a poignant example of what can happen when two different civilizations meet one traditional and oriented to preserving its tribal culture in time and the other bent on spreading its influence over long distances.

Most writers are occupied in providing accounts of the content of philosophy, science, libraries, empires, and religions. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: The Dark Vision of Harold Innis. They include modern media such as radio, television, and mass circulation newspapers that convey information to many people over long distances, but have short exposure times.

They literally spoke the language of the masses, effectively penetrating popular consciousness and shaping public opinion. Harold Innis founded a new intellectual approach to the study of communications technologies. The result is an “interface”– “the interaction of substances in a kind mutual irritation,” according to McLuhan. The emphasis on change is the only permanent characteristic.

Harold Innis’s communications theories – Wikipedia

What assumptions do they take from and contribute to society? Jan 03, Steven Felicelli rated it liked it. First published inthis masterful collection of essays explores the relationship between a society’s communication media and that community’s ability to maintain control over its development.


Sad to say, I splayed another motherfucking shotgun blast of coffee all over page fifty-three— Monopolies of Knowledgeaye—at which point my shoulders drooped sufficient to chat with my knees and I could acutely visualize the noose dangling from the bedroom ceiling.

There communocation no discussion topics on this book yet. Ability to Afford High Costs: Evolution and Trends in Digital Media:: Any empire or society is generally concerned with duration over time and extension in space. According to Harold Innis, monopolies of knowledge eventually face challenges to their power, especially with the arrival of new media.

As both Innis and Michel Foucault have demonstrated, individuals or groups who control access to harolf points wield great power. Notify me of new posts via email. He establishes a dialectic between media with a time-bias and those with a space-bias:.

The Bias of Communication

He does, however, appreciate the considerable power invested in communications technologies and monopolies of comnunication to shape culture. The adaptability of the alphabet to large-scale machine industry became the basis of literacy, advertising and trade.

When fascism comes to America, it will come in the form of democracy. He writes that Innis “emphasizes, in dealing with concrete historical casesthe necessity of a balance of various media whose predispositions [or biases] complement each other to make for a successful imperial project.

The boundaries of the empire shift, expanding and contracting. His philosophy thus preserved “the power of the spoken word on the written page.

This site uses cookies. How do specific communication technologies operate? The bias of communication Harold Adams Innis Snippet view – Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Innis associated these media with the customary, the sacred, and the moral. It would thus be a mistake to consider Innis a technological determinist: It is really the “monopolies of knowledge” which are at stake in the longevity of empires. Schell rated it it was amazing Aug 16, Innis devoted the remainder of his life to fleshing out these ideas, and toward the end he began to explore the biases embedded in staples-driven communications systems.


Well, I can see where McLuhan got a lot of his ideas. He went on to write books on the cod fisheries, the dairy industry, and the wheat industry.

University of Toronto Press- History – pages. European guns used in war and conquest, for example, enabled the indigenous peoples to hunt more efficiently, but led to the rapid destruction of cpmmunication food supply and of the beaver they depended on to obtain European goods.

Why do you think he says that? Related elements are juxtaposed, leaving gaps which require the reader to make connections. Email Address never made public. The cult of “production value” in design, recording, television, and Hollywood movies makes it difficult for lower budget artifacts to compete for attention.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: In his presidential address to the Royal Society of CanadaInnis remarked: Communication Mediated A blog about media and other things. This page was last edited on 17 Marchat Those messages which have lasted have tended to bias our view of the history of empires: Nixon rated it really liked it Jan 25, He approaches each of these forms of organized power as exercising a particular kind of force upon each of the other components in the complex.

A must read for those questioning the meaning of society.

He proposed that new media are “pulled” into existence by organized interests after inventors have already developed the technology, or prototypes of the technology, necessary to support the media. Harold Adams Innis November 5, — November 8, was a professor of political economy at the University of Toronto and the author of seminal works on Canadian economic communocation and on media and communication theory.