What McLuhan did for ’em

I red an essay of Paul Levinson – McLuhan and Media Ecology. This short essay is somehow a contribution to the acknowledgement of Herbert Marshall McLuhan’s person. For Levinson it is clear that McLuhan’s ideas are profoundly necessary, but not sufficient for the foundation of what today is called Media Ecology.

Levinson presents what aspects of McLuhan’s work and at first what ideas of McLuhan’s are supporting the ideas of Media Ecology. The topic McLuhan dived into was communication, and it is above all the main aspect of inquiry in Media Ecology. Though it is neither technology, nor selfexpression nor are it aesthetics that are important in the field of Media Ecology although certain scholars have dealt with these aspects in the past, as Levinson states.

McLuhan seemed to be the star of Media Ecology, even though he was not worshipped as a star would have to. His prose style was criticized by a lot of scholars, nevertheless Levinson characterizes McLuhan’s work as a touchstone. His emphasis on the medium, that is the message and determines our way of communication, channels the way Media Ecologists watch on their main object of investigation.
Studying the media is always a means of studying history (and future). The point of view can in this aspect be taken in two different directions. As McLuhan himself worked inter-disciplinary, Media Ecologists feel something like a kinship with historians and communication scientists, but they differ in their way of presentation, in style. Media Ecologists do not lack a certain levity or élan in presentation. In the end Levinson states that McLuhan only left a few students to continue his work. Although his effort was not superflous at least, just because Media Ecologists “filled this gap in more than one way” (p. 21).
The aspects presented here and of course in Levinson’s article have summarized some of the elements of McLuhan’s work but could not be enough to a detailed representation of the field of Media Ecology’s inquiries.

Levinson, Paul: McLuhan and Media Ecology. - In: Proceeedings of the Media Ecology Association (2000), 1, p. 17-22.

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