Originally printed in the New Left Review, no. 64, , pp. Potentialities of communication media “For the first time in history, the media. Media do not produce objects which can be hoarded. Do away with “intellectual property” (Magnus was dead wrong here – battles over IP are. A Theory of the Media. [ Introduction] Constituents of a Theory of the Media “The new media are oriented toward action, not contemplation; toward.

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In a highly developed mechanical industry, on the other hand, any connection between the product and the creator is abolished. The attacks of the Nixon administration on the capitalist media in the USA reveals its understanding that their reporting, however one-sided and distorted, has become a decisive factor in mobilizing people against the war in Vietnam.

The consrituents obtained by popular American sociologists like Vance Packard are not unuseful but limited. This article appeared in Modern Occasions Anthology inpp. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Slowly, one can see the transformation already in the q of the consciousness industry taking an upper hand.

The Arab guerillas proceed in the same way. The programs which the isolated amateur mounts are always only bad, outdated copies of what he in any case receives.

Enzensberger provides an example of telephone and telegram to explain this further. Theoryy legal concept enensberger the documentary record is only pragmatically useful; s serves only to protect economic interests.

The development from a mere distribution medium to a communications medium is technically not a problem. To sum up, human knowledge can also be a productive force. He admittedly did not invent but was the first to formulate explicitly a mystique of the media which dissolves all political problems in smoke — the same smoke as gets in the eyes of his followers.


It is scarcely worthwhile to deal with such concepts. A further characteristic of the most advanced media — probably the decisive one — confirms this thesis: The most powerful agent is the film. All agreed that it was an interesting idea, and I went to KPFA with the offer to do such an analysis. The socialist movements will take up the donstituents for their own wavelengths and must, within the foreseeable future, build their own transmitters and relay stations. Quarantine regulations for information, such as were promulgated by Fascism and Stalinism, are only possible today at the cost of deliberate industrial regression.

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They are clearly coming together to form a universal system. From the point of view of its structure as a medium, written literature, like the bourgeoisie who produced it and whom it served, was progressive.

Such a use of them would bring the communications media, which up to now have not deserved the name, into their own. Hans Magnus risks his ego, yet hugging Antonio Gramsci to his bosom he ends with: I read this essay late in when it appeared in New Left Review No. This site uses cookies. This is further proven in the understanding of media by Marshall McLuhan.

In the Marxist theory, the human society consist of two essential parts: He struggles to flesh out possibilities. Anyone can take part in them by a simple switching process. Enzensberger quotes from Theory of Radio building on the thought presented above: When carried to extremes, such attempts to produce interaction, even when it goes against the structure of theort medium employed, are nothing more than invitations to freewheel.

Constituents of a Theory of the Media

The politically active groups then point to such cases with smug Schadenfreude. The primary question — fheory the very invention of photography had not transformed the entire nature of art — was not raised.


The campaign against illiteracy in Cuba broke through the linear, exclusive, and isolating structure of the medium of the book. The first to experiment with these techniques internationally were the Cubans.

Thery revolutionary role of the printed book has been described often enough and it would be absurd to deny it. The liberal superstition that in political and social questions there is such a thing as pure, unmanipulated truth, seems to enjoy remarkable currency among the socialist Left. Microphone and camera abolish the class character of the mode of production not of the production itself.

It ought to be integrated into the system as a marginal case and thereby forfeit its aura of cult and ritual. You are commenting using your Facebook account. It is based, in the last analysis, on the basic mrdia between the ruling class and the ruled class — that is to say between monopoly capital or monopolistic bureaucracy on the one hand and the dependent masses on the other. As far as the objectively subversive potentialities of the electronic media are concerned, both sides in the international class struggle — except for the fatalistic adherents of the thesis of manipulation in the metropoles — are of one mind.

To an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility Electronic techniques recognize no contradiction in principle between transmitter and receiver. The specialist will learn as much or more from the non-specialists as the other way round. It means, above all, that the media program mediq open to its own consequences without structural limitations.