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Media Technologies and convergence Raymond Williams - Essay Example

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This essay examines Raymond Williams’ critique of McLuhan’s work by means of a focused analysis of the key aspects. Examining Marshall McLuhan’s work inevitably entails consideration of the issues surrounding his work and the claims by Raymond Williams that the work epitomises and promotes the concept of technological determinism…
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Download file to see previous pages Raymond Williams is strongly opposed to Marshall McLuhan’s analysis that the world has been altered by television, which is intended to mean that watching television reduces one’s intelligence quotient (IQ). Although McLuhan’s line of thought is somehow consistent with experience in the media, Williams argues that it would be overly deterministic to believe in the precepts of this model. On this point, Williams’ line of thought makes quite a lot of sense because some television programs are greatly educative and laden with facts. The implication is that the society can learn a great deal from these facts and effectively develop their IQs.
Technological determinism assumes that technological advancement is an accidental, self-driven process. It pre-supposes that the advancements are never pre-determined by external forces. However, most of the technological developments arise as a result of the needs (either real or perceived) of the society. This way, technology is the ultimate result of many years of carefully designed research. Put differently, the kind of technology that develops in a particular place is normally related to the challenges associated with the place. Technology is, therefore, aimed at providing definitive solutions to the needs and challenges of the society. Williams reinforces this point further by making reference to some television-related inventions such as the electric eye, the copying telegraph, the cathode-ray tube, and the scanning system. The details of these inventions show clearly that discovery of the modern television had been long foreseen, and it was in the process of being perfected. One of the challenges that had motivated the conception and subsequent realisation of these inventions is pressure that came with the expanding business and military operations; a situation that demanded a faster and robust broadcasting platform. Raymond Williams emphasises the value of technology in influencing the cultural perception of television. In doing this, he resists the assertions of McLuhan that the message lies in the medium. Williams reasons that if the medium is the message, then the human component would have been left out of the broadcasting system. Williams further argues that contrary to McLuhan’s beliefs, viewers have the will and ability to alter and or pre-determine the otherwise latent logic of technology and history. This is attributable to two factors: first is that television is part of human life, and second ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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