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One of the most influential books ever published in Canada, Harold A. Innis’s The Bias of Communication has played a major part in reshaping our. Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited but least understood of communication theorists. This is particularly. PROFESSOR INNIS has written a pioneering book and made a serious contrib nology, we can discover the specific “bias of communication” in each perio.

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This is a difficult but rewarding read. The Dark Vision of Harold Innis.

For Innis, the organization of empires seems to follow two major models. Their entrenched positions involve a continuous, systematic, ruthless destruction of elements of permanence communixation to cultural activity. A lifelong student of political economy, Harold Innis became an internationally prominent social scientist and chief architect of the staples interpretation of Canadian history. Innis argued that a balance between the spoken word and writing contributed to the flourishing of ancient Greece in the time of Plato.

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. Space-biased media are light and portable; they can be transported over large distances. The media, Innis tells us, are inter-related in their impact on the survival of empires.

When fascism comes to America, it will come in the form of democracy. Harold Innis’s analysis of the effects of communications on the rise and fall of empires led cokmunication, in the end, to warn grimly that Western civilization was now facing its own profound crisis.

Hias writing, the tendency is to isolate an aspect of some matter and to direct steady attention upon that aspect. Time-biased media include clay or stone tabletshand-copied manuscripts on harolld or vellum and oral sources such as Homer’s epic poems. University of Toronto Press, pp. Empire and Communicationsand The Bias of Communication The latest issue communicztion the online academic journal Persona Studies injis now available. Innis makes it quite clear that the character of this writing is what made it amenable to the creation of a monopoly over knowledge Empirep Empires that sprang up tended to be biased towards space control over a large area or time continuing control for a long timedepending on the dominant medium in use by the empire.


During his work on political economy, Innis developed the staples thesiswhich asserted that the Canadian economy tended to rely on the production of single commodities: Innis wrote that the interplay between knowledge and power was always a crucial factor in understanding empire: Innis often returns to the evolving drama of language as an important means of communication.

For his first book, The History of the Fur Trade in Canadahe retraced many of the routes of the early fur traders. This page was last edited on 17 Marchat They literally spoke the language of the masses, effectively penetrating popular consciousness and shaping public opinion.

Harold Innis’ bias of communications – a starting point, not a foundation

Some of his ideas were taken up and extended by Marshall McLuhan. From the end of WWII until his death inInnis worked steadily on an investigation of the social history of communication, studying the communication media of the last years. Innis believed that the overwhelming spatial bias of modern media was heightened communicagion the United States by the development of powerful military technologies, including atomic weapons.

New allegiances are formed. The cult of “production value” in design, recording, television, and Hollywood movies makes it difficult for lower budget artifacts to bjas for attention. Writing was a difficult and specialized art requiring long apprenticeship, and reading implied a long period of instruction. New World Perspectives, p.


Harold Adams Innis: The Bias of Communications & Monopolies of Power

He went on to write books on the cod fisheries, the dairy industry, and the wheat industry. Space-biased media are more ephemeral. To begin our inquiry into this area, he suggests we ask three basic questions:. Beginning with an extended discussion of the unique characteristics of the beaver, he then elaborates upon the importance of indigenous people’s harvesting and processing techniques, the fur traders’ business methods, and the critical river transportation routes that fostered a distinctive pattern of development communicatipn Canada over three centuries.

Harold Innis’ bias of communications – a starting point, not a foundation « Communication Mediated

While in France, he was seriously wounded. Harold Adams Innis November 5, — November 8, was a professor of political economy at haold University of Toronto and the author of seminal works on Canadian economic history and on media and communication theory. First published inthis masterful collection of essays explores the relationship between a Ted Turner buys RKO! As both Innis and Michel Foucault have demonstrated, individuals or groups who control access to those points wield great power. The concepts of time and space reflect the significance of media to civilization.

University of Toronto Press, ]. His war experience, during which he saw Canadian soldiers used as cannon-fodder by the British, marked him for life: