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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Only then one can contrive to make oneself dispensable to a field or domain. By contrast, protracted structural crises as in coal-mining can be solved merely by getting rid of a backlog, that is to say, essentially they can be solved within the terms of their own system and a revolutionary strategy that relied on them would be short-sighted.

It has long been clear from apparatus like miniature and 8 mm cine cameras, as well as the tape recorder, which are in actual fact already in the hands of the masses, that the individual, so long as he remains isolated, can become with ensensberger help at best an amateur but not a producer.

Enzensberger by R.G. Davis

The history of every art form has critical periods when that form strives towards effects which can only be easily achieved if the technical norm is changed, that is to say, in a new art form. Though primarily a poet and essayist, he also made excursions into theater, film, opera, radio drama, reportage, translation, et al. There is no such thing as unmanipulated writing, filming, or broadcasting. Film is, of course, one of the most important aspects of this influence.

Sign In Don’t have an account? It suffices to compare the model of a private library with that of a socialized data bank to recognize the structural difference between the two systems. For example, they offer the user the opportunity to hheory the material provided by arbitrary permutations.


These effects have worn off. In Western Europe the socialist movement mainly addresses itself to a public of converts through newspapers and journals which are exclusive in terms of language, content, and form.

In speech, unresolved contradictions betray themselves by pauses, hesitations, slips of the tongue, repetitions, anacoluthons, quite apart from phrasing, mimicry, gesticulation, pace, and volume. Unrealizable in this social system, reliable in another these proposals, which are after all, only the natural consequences of technical development help towards the propagation and shaping of that other system.

Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that is, the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage.

It refers to the combination of the means of labor with human labor power. While we know that the consciousness industry is about to bring forth a radical change in the way media is perceived, it is important to discuss the concept of manipulation, which till now helped in self learning and development.

The theory of knowledge on which it was based is outmoded. And this is proven well from the point above that everyone now is participating in the process of information exchange and thereby learning themselves.

A further characteristic of the most advanced media — probably the decisive one — confirms this thesis: A Socialist Strategy It has developed at such a pace, and assumed such varied forms, that it has outgrown our understanding and our control.

Constituents of a Theory of the Media

The possibility of total control of such a system at a central point belongs not to the future but to the past. This is where the prognostic value of otherwise inessential productions such as happenings, flux and mixed media shows, is to be found. It is the unspoken basic premise of the manipulation thesis.

They are therefore to be thought of not as means of consumption but as means of their own production. The reality in which a camera turns up is always faked, e. The ability to make proper strategic use of the most advanced media was lacking.


No industrial process can replace the persons who generate it.

It bases itself on the law of trespass, on commercial and official secrecy. The programs of the consciousness industry must subsume into themselves their own results, the reactions and the corrections which they call forth, otherwise they are already out of date.

The point, however, is not to demolish its promises but to take them literally and to show that they can be met only through a cultural revolution.

Constituents of a Theory of the Media – Religion Online

Subjectively speaking, behind the tendency to go on the defensive lies a sense of impotence. The productions of the electronic media, by their nature, evade such distinctions as those between documentary and feature films. Professional writers have always tended to think in caste terms. Foreign stations like the BBC, the Voice of America, and the Deutschland Welle, therefore, not only find listeners, but are received with almost boundless faith.

On the contrary, they go against it, for the structure demands interaction. So, the bigger question is not the fact that media are manipulated, but who manipulates them? An incomparably longer time preceded it in which literature was oral.

The reason is that a reproduction, to the extent that its technical quality is good enough, cannot be distinguished in any way from the original, irrespective of whether it is a painting, a passport, ocnstituents a blank note.

The Achievement of Benjamin Dadaism in the end teemed with such barbarisms. This can be deduced from technological developments.