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Backwards Up Niagara Falls: Space/Time, Image/Text and the Biases of Information
Unformatted Document Text:  27 10 The last sentence of this quote is of course an important thesis in McLuhan’s thought. 11 Innis’ ‘bias’ in favour of the oral tradition is also explicit in other texts, notably ‘A Critical Review’, also in The Bias of Communication. 12 This is one of Stamp’s principal claims, and the basis of her comparison between Innis, McLuhan, Adorno and Benjamin. Lack of space prevents me from engaging in any detail with these claims, except to say that I think she fundamentally overestimates the role of the ‘oral tradition’ in Bejamin and Adorno’s writing, and totally ignores the problematic reductionism of Innis’ conflation of space with vison and writing. 13 Mosco ostensibly challenges Castells’ distinction between the space of places and the space of flows, arguing for the mutual transformation of physical geography and cyberspace. In my reading this is actually what Castells is also saying – the terms ‘flow’ and ‘place’ are neither exclusively technological nor geographical. 14 The notion of authorship is not only important to cultural intelligibility but also to questions of copyright. 15 See Robins and Webster (1999) on the connection between information and control in modernity. References Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities. London: Verso. Arnheim, R. (1957). Film as Art. Berkeley: University of California Press. Baudrillard, J. (1981). For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. St. Louis: Telos Press.

Authors: Frosh, Paul.
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27
10
The last sentence of this quote is of course an important thesis in McLuhan’s thought.
11
Innis’ ‘bias’ in favour of the oral tradition is also explicit in other texts, notably ‘A Critical
Review’, also in The Bias of Communication.
12
This is one of Stamp’s principal claims, and the basis of her comparison between Innis,
McLuhan, Adorno and Benjamin. Lack of space prevents me from engaging in any detail with
these claims, except to say that I think she fundamentally overestimates the role of the ‘oral
tradition’ in Bejamin and Adorno’s writing, and totally ignores the problematic reductionism
of Innis’ conflation of space with vison and writing.
13
Mosco ostensibly challenges Castells’ distinction between the space of places and the space
of flows, arguing for the mutual transformation of physical geography and cyberspace. In my
reading this is actually what Castells is also saying – the terms ‘flow’ and ‘place’ are neither
exclusively technological nor geographical.
14
The notion of authorship is not only important to cultural intelligibility but also to questions
of copyright.
15
See Robins and Webster (1999) on the connection between information and control in
modernity.
References
Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities. London: Verso.
Arnheim, R. (1957). Film as Art. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Baudrillard, J. (1981). For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. St. Louis: Telos
Press.


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