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Backwards Up Niagara Falls: Space/Time, Image/Text and the Biases of Information

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Abstract:

In recent years McLuhan’s writings have enjoyed a renaissance in connection with the ‘digital age’. Yet the work of his mentor, Innis, has largely been ignored, despite the striking relevance of Innis’ central conceptual tool – the spatial and temporal ‘biases’ of communications media – to many of the most hotly debated topics in media and cultural studies: the impact of new technologies, globalization and localization, the mediation of historical memory, the distribution of power and knowledge, the social construction of space and time. This paper reassesses Innis’ significance for theorizing contemporary communications and culture, first by attempting to delineate his space-time dialectic more thoroughly, second by situating it in relation to another central space-time dialectic - the image/text distinction, and finally by relating it to a broad hypothesis about contemporary cultural and social trends in ‘the information society’.

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inni (79), time (73), space (67), media (66), cultur (64), bias (61), tempor (59), communic (51), social (44), spatial (44), knowledg (42), form (36), technolog (35), inform (35), also (31), narrat (30), represent (30), new (27), distinct (26), societi (25), write (25),

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Innis, time, space, image, new media
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MLA Citation:

Frosh, Paul. "Backwards Up Niagara Falls: Space/Time, Image/Text and the Biases of Information" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112277_index.html>

APA Citation:

Frosh, P. , 2003-05-27 "Backwards Up Niagara Falls: Space/Time, Image/Text and the Biases of Information" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p112277_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In recent years McLuhan’s writings have enjoyed a renaissance in connection with the ‘digital age’. Yet the work of his mentor, Innis, has largely been ignored, despite the striking relevance of Innis’ central conceptual tool – the spatial and temporal ‘biases’ of communications media – to many of the most hotly debated topics in media and cultural studies: the impact of new technologies, globalization and localization, the mediation of historical memory, the distribution of power and knowledge, the social construction of space and time. This paper reassesses Innis’ significance for theorizing contemporary communications and culture, first by attempting to delineate his space-time dialectic more thoroughly, second by situating it in relation to another central space-time dialectic - the image/text distinction, and finally by relating it to a broad hypothesis about contemporary cultural and social trends in ‘the information society’.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 31
Word count: 9643
Text sample:
Backwards Up Niagara Falls: Space/Time Image/Text and the Biases of Information1 Introduction James Carey once made a wry observation concerning the relationship between two of the most important and probably most idiosyncratic North American communication theorists. Appropriating Oscar Wilde’s witticism about Niagara Falls he argued that the ‘arc’ which ran from Harold Innis to Marshall McLuhan ‘would be more impressive if it ran the other way’ (Carey 1992: 142). The same could be said about the enthusiastic resurrection of
N. (1972). The Ut Pictura Poesis Controversy in Eighteenth Century England and Germany. Frankfurt: Herbert Lang. Scott A. (1999). The Cultural Economy: Geography and the Creative Field Media Culture and Society 21 807-817. Silverstone R. (1994). Television and Everyday Life. London: Routledge. Stamps J. (1995). Unthinking Modernity: Innis McLuhan and the Frankfurt School. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press. Wellbery D. (1984). Lessing’s Laocoon: Semiotics and the Age of Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Williams R. (1990). Television: Technology and Cultural


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