The objective of this thesis is the analysis of cultural transmission via literary production. Based on the work of the English writer and thinker Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), and starting from his masterpiece Brave New World (published in 1932), the thesis should be elaborated in a theoretical-critical fashion. Its goal is linking Huxleys dystopian ideas with Marshall McLuhans analytical media theory, employing a post-structuralist approach in the textual analysis, while investigating the main aspects under multiple perspectives, such as Huxleys presumed take on multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary (MIT) education and research, but also utilizing studies on media effects as publicized by Marshall McLuhan. These two important figures in literature have provided us with ample material for research, and their works of creation go far beyond simple information statements. It is now on to us what we can make of it and how we utilize their insights for evolving and advancing as humans in our own time. Key question to this thesis is therefore how, through study of a dystopian novel, we can discern its authors finely tuned understanding of sociological processes and employ his epistemology for teaching the next generation in our current time of information overload. The hypothesis is that a continuous effort in encouraging deep reading and involvement with cultural heritage is beneficial to individuals and society.
Cultural transmission is made possible because of human communication and it is fundamental for the construction of reality within societies. Reality is constructed per way of perception of our Lebenswelt that is in turn shaped by and through man-made technological inventions, such as media. These have been invented – and are now made use of – as part of our socialization process, constituting intrinsic element of our very humanization. It would seem natural and appropriate that not only operational functioning of technologies in general and media in particular, but also other important aspects like effects and consequences for society be part of educational processes.
The methodology employed for the elaboration of the thesis should be based on the theory of Mediology that has been introduced by Rgis Debray. Debray has further elaborated McLuhans principles on media as extensions of the human body, aiming for a holistic view about the role of media in society. He is advising on looking at space/time considerations that should allow us to recognize correlations between signs/symbols, institutions, transmission technologies and archiving systems and he is advocating the need of ethics in technology.
The results of the analysis should yield practical relevance in education and in other aspects of human learning.
Main literary sources:
Carr, Nicholas: The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember
Debray, Rgis: Einfhrung in the Mediologie
Gordon, W. Terrence: A Guide for the Perplexed
Huxley, Aldous: Brave New World
Huxley, Aldous: Island
Markoff, John: What the Dormouse said: How the 60s Counterculture shaped the Personal Computer Industry
McKee, Alan: Textual Analysis: A Beginners Guide
McLuhan, Marshall: The Gutenberg Galaxy
McLuhan, Marshall: The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of his Time
McLuhan, Marshall: Understanding Media
McLuhan, Stephanie, Staines, David: Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews
Postman, Neil: Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
Watzlawick, Paul, Bavelas, Janet Beavin, and Jackson, Donald D.: Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes
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