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Abstract. Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited but least understood of communication theorists. This is particularly true in. PROFESSOR INNIS has written a pioneering book and made a serious contrib nology, we can discover the specific “bias of communication” in each perio. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Harold Innis and “the bias of communication | Fifty years after his death, Harold Innis remains one of the most widely cited.

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Deadhacker rated it innie it Jan 25, As a result, Canada found itself in a dependent, and vulnerable relationship to the major manufacturing nations, first Britain, then the U.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Changed my perception of the world, especially in regards to opening my eyes wide to how differently history can be ‘read’.

Innis considers the “significance of communication to the rise and decline of cultural traits” The scribe had the full qualifications of a special profession and was included in the upper classes of kings, priests, nobles and generals, in contrast with peasants, fishermen, artisans and labourers. His reflections appear in separate chapters in his book Empire and Communications along with additional chapters on the combined effects of parchment and paper in the Middle Agesand paper and the printing press in the development of modern societies.

Power was vested therefore, in a scribal and literate, religious elite. Be the first to ask a question about The Bias of Communication.

Harold Innis’s communications theories

Mihajlo Krivokuca rated it it was amazing Sep 18, It is really the “monopolies of knowledge” which are at stake in the longevity of empires. The priestly concern with time, harolc by papyrus in this case, developed in the way it did because the monarchy in Egypt had gained effective control over space. The advent of the Cold War led to such an emphasis on military preparedness that the U. For Blondheim, this mastery of space prompted a civilisational awareness of the lack of concern with time, and a civilisational attempt to find a new medium that would enable haro,d to address this problem.


The concepts of time and space reflect the significance of media to civilization.

Why do you think he says that? Ted Turner buys RKO! Sheikh Tajamul rated it really liked it Jun 08, Phil Nichols rated it really liked it Dec 25, Ability to Afford High Costs: Innis devoted the remainder of his life to fleshing out these ideas, and toward the end he began to explore the biases embedded in staples-driven communications systems.

Control of Raw Materials for Media: He writes that Innis “emphasizes, in dealing with concrete historical casesthe necessity of a balance of various media whose predispositions [or biases] complement each other to make for a successful imperial project.

In order to understand any medium, inis must attend not only to its physical characteristics, but also to the way in which it is employed and institutionalized. It is not the heaviness of stone that necessarily makes it a time-biased medium, but rather its ability to survive the elements and natural disasters so that it may still communicate its message centuries or millennia later.

And by the same token, a sociocultural system with effective time-binding media in place may naturally become concerned about its space-binding powers and necessarily focus on them.

The scientific community lobbies not only for a pre-eminent status for the objectivity of knowledge, but also advocates a rigid method for obtaining that knowledge. Return to Book Page. In hxrold own time, we have witnessed such shifting monopolies in the delivery of news communication the masses from newspapers to radio to television to the internet. Short cuts of magic and religion were entrenched in writing as the occupation of a respectable learned profession bas the ruling class.

He divided media into time-biased and space-biased types. The new media allow those on the periphery to develop and consolidate comumnication, and ultimately to challenge the authority of the centre.

Biographer John Watson warns against the tendency to apply Innis’s concept of media ‘bias’ in a mechanical or deterministic way. The media, Innis tells us, are inter-related in their impact on the survival of empires.


Innis makes it quite clear that the character of this writing is what made it amenable to the creation of a monopoly over knowledge Empirep28 Writing was a difficult and specialized art requiring long apprenticeship, and reading implied a long period of instruction….

In the last chapter, Innis suggests ways that other staples, such as timber, wheat and minerals, modified the patterns originally established during the fur trade. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

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

What Innis experienced during the war contradicted popular beliefs at home that the Canadian identity was a pale reflection of British imperialism and deepened his nationalist outlook.

Innis often returns to the evolving drama of language as an important means of communication. Innis argued that this priestly or scribal monopoly disturbed the necessary balance between the religious bias toward time and continuity, and the political bias toward space and power.

Garold of Toronto Press, p. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Marshall McLuhan, deeply influenced by these essays, led North America to a new awareness of the role of media in contemporary culture.

The need to manage a flooding river promotes an absolute authority, which is further reinforced by a regular–thus eternal–calendar, which in turn supports the absolute dominance of elemental forces embodied in Osiris and Ra. The notes for this book are available at the Fisher Rare book library here in Toronto. Advantages accrue to those communiaction have the knowledge first.