Marshall McLuhan's posthumous The Global Village, co-authored by Bruce Powers, explores the new "laws" of media, "laws" fostering a dramatic collision of viewpoints. The first based on Visual Space - the linear, quantitative mode of perception characteristic of the Western world is preserved by the medium of print. While the second, based on Acoustic Space - the holistic, qualitative reasoning of the East - is being fostered by television, the technologies of the data base, communication satallites, and the globalmedia network. McLuhan and Powers offer the 'Tetrad' as a four part structure of analysis for relieving the outcome of this collision. By focusing on four questions - What does this new medium enhance? What does it render obsolete? What does it retrieve that was long ago pushed aside? And what does it produce or become when extended beyond the limits of its potential? - one can postulate the cultural life of an arifact in advance by showing how a total saturated use would produce a reversal of the original intent.
For example, money converted into credit cards: the telephone to the omnipresence of teleconferencing; or the high-rise apartment building: enhancing privacy, rendering community obsolete, retrieving the catacombs, and reversing into a slum. McLuhan's insights, his aphorisms, and his legacy as "the man behind the message", make The Global Village excellent reading for anyone interested in the shaping power of communication technology.
Marshall McLuhan, who died in 1980, taught at St. Michael's College, the University of Toronto. His books The Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media established his international reputation as a communications theorist and made him one of the most famous and controversial scholars of the 1960s and '70s. Bruce R. Powers, a longtime friend and collaborator of McLuhan's, is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at Niagara University.