Global village (term)

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"Global village" is a term closely associated with Canadian-born Marshall McLuhan,[1] popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). McLuhan described how the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology[2] and the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time.[3]


Marshall McLuhan predicted the Internet as an "extension of consciousness" in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man thirty years before its commercialization. [4]

The next medium, whatever it is it may be the extension of consciousness—will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form.[4]

On the Internet, physical distance is even less of a hindrance to the real-time communicative activities of people, and therefore social spheres are greatly expanded by the openness of the web and the ease at which people can search for online communities and interact with others who share the same interests and concerns. Therefore, this technology fosters the idea of a conglomerate yet unified global community.[5] According to McLuhan, the enhanced "electric speed in bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree." [6] Increased speed of communication and the ability of people to read about, spread, and react to global news quickly, forces us to become more involved with one another from various social groups and countries around the world and to be more aware of our global responsibilities.[6][7] Similarly, web-connected computers enable people to link their web sites together. This new reality has implications for forming new sociological structures within the context of culture. Contemporary analysts question the causes of changes in community and its consequences some potentially new sociological structure. Most of them have pointed out the fact that the increased velocity of transactions has fostered interactional density, making social networks a technical catalyst for social change. Across the global village people have reached out and transcended their neighborhood. They are involved in complex community networks stretching across cities, nations, and oceans. Yet the ease with which telecommunications connect friends of friends may also increase the density of interconnections within already existing social clusters. Therefore, the global village's implications on sociological structures are yet to be found, whether it fosters cultural exchanges and openness or not.[8] Global village is also a term used to express the relation between macroeconomics and sociology throughout the world.

To global theatre[edit]

No chapter in Understanding Media, later books, contains the idea that the global village and the electronic media create unified communities. In fact, in an interview with Gerald Stearn,[9] McLuhan says that it never occurred to him that uniformity and tranquillity were the properties of the global village. McLuhan argued that the global village ensures maximal disagreement on all points because it creates more discontinuity and division and diversity under the increase of the village conditions. The global village is far more diverse.

After the publication of Understanding Media, McLuhan starts using the term "global theater" to emphasise the changeover from consumer to producer, from acquisition to involvement, from job holding to role playing, stressing that there is no more community to clothe the naked specialist.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Wyndham Lewis's America and Cosmic Man (1948) and James Joyce's Finnegans Wake are sometimes credited as the source of the phrase, but neither used the words "Global Village" specifically. According to McLuhan's son Eric McLuhan, his father, a Joyce scholar and a close friend of Lewis, likely discussed the concept with Lewis during their association, but there is no evidence that he got the idea or the phrasing from either; McLuhan is generally credited as having coined the term. Source: Eric McLuhan (1996). "The source of the term 'global village'". McLuhan Studies (issue 2). Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  2. ^ McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. (Gingko Press, 1964, 2003) p6.
  3. ^ McLuhan, Marshall. Letters of Marshall McLuhan. (Oxford University Press, 1987) p254.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "CIOS/McLuhan Site: M". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  6. ^ a b Understanding Media, McGraw Hill, 1964, page 5
  7. ^ "Marshall McLuhan". Aberystwyth University. 1995-05-26. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  9. ^ Stearn, Gerald Emmanuel. McLuhan: Hot & Cool (1968), p. 272.
  10. ^ McLuhan, Marshall and Nevitt, Barrington. From Take Today: The Executive as Dropout (Harcourt Brace, 1972) p265 and back cover.