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Marshall McLuhan (1911 1980) was a Canadian philosopher who focused his attention to

media and communication.

He is best known for coining of two expressions: the medium is the message and global village,
both in the sixties.
Another commonplace, when one discusses McLuhan, is that he, precisely with the idea of
global village, foresaw the use of internet, social networks etc.
This concept is closely connected to globalization, which, according to Ulrich Beck means that
national states are being mixed and intertwined, with information flowing more or less freely
across the globe. It means a certain denationalization that is often answered with
And when it comes to this circulation of information and the possibility for the establishment of
a world-wide communication, McLuhans concept of global village proves to be of essence.
He claimed that, due to technology, our senses and our nervous systems can spread across the
globe, so we can be anywhere in the world without physically being there.
As a result, the world became no more than a village in which information travels
instantaneously, and whose inhabitants can communicate at a person-to-person level.
Or, to quote him, The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a
global village. (The Gutenberg Galaxy, the making of typographic man, 31).
So, the term village is used as a metaphor for a tight, small community with no difficulties in
This was, in McLuhans opinion, a good thing, that will help the world become a human
family. He viewed the world of the first half of the twentieth century as divided by the principle
of industrial production called fordism. Namely, it is a system of industrialized and standardized
form of mass production that was named after Henry Ford, the owner of a famous car industry.
So fordism implies that something, a car for example, is produced by a standard, and every
worker in a factory is making only one part of it. In McLuhans opinion, this led to
fragmentation of our world in which no one communicates. The emergence of electronic
technology was to enable us to communicate one again, and to unite the world.
And this is the aspect of his idea that was wrong, since even though we can now communicate
easier, a big part of humanity lives in alienation. Also, a significant part of the world doesnt
have access to technology, and that created an even deeper gap between the developed and
underdeveloped countries.
The village we live in is in fact managed by laws of domination, with some, primarily western
cultures having more influence than the others. The relations of power existing before the world
became a global village, were, for the most part, copied to the new world dominated by
So, we have to be careful when discussing the benefits of globalization, and always try to view
the concept from many different sides. Thus, no single answer can be given on whether it is a
positive or a negative concept. But one thing is sure. It is the reality we live in, and thus it
important for us to understand it.