Global village

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The term global village describes the phenomenon of the world becoming more interconnected as the result of the propagation of media technologies throughout the world. The term was first coined by Canadian media theorist, Marshall McLuhan and popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964)[1]. Literary scholar Sue-Im describes how the term global village has come to designate “the dominant term for expressing a global coexistence altered by transnational commerce, migration, and culture” (as cited in Poll, 2012)[2]. Economic journalist Thomas Friedman’s definition of the global village as a world “tied together into a single globalized marketplace and village” is another popular contemporary understanding of the term (as cited in Poll, 2012)[2].


Marshall McLuhan, who was a Canadian philosopher, coined the term 'global village' in the 1960's.[3] McLuhan based his concept on the idea that cultures would focus on communicating and move towards personal interactions.[4]The term global village means different parts of the world that form one community that’s linked by the internet.[5] Other forms of communication such as Skype allow us to communicate and connect with others, especially others in other countries, easier.[6] The new reality of the digital age has implications for forming new socially meaningful structures within the context of culture.[7] Interchanging messages, stories, opinions, posts, and videos through channels on telecommunication pathways can cause miscommunication-- especially through different cultures.[8] Contemporary analysts question the causes of changes in community.[8] Often they speculate about whether or not the consequences of these changes could lead to some new sociological structure.[8] Most of them have pointed out that the increased velocity of transactions has fostered international density, making social networks a catalyst for social change.

Across the global village people have transcended their micro and meso level contexts. They are involved in a complex community of networks stretching across cities, nations, oceans, and governments. Despite this, increasing communications with friends on social media may also increase the density of interconnections within already existing social clusters. The global village's implications on sociological structures are yet to be fully realized.[9] Not only does multimedia have the ability to impact individuals differently for cultural reasons, but messages also affect people due to their religion, politics, beliefs, business, money etc.[7] The time in which messages are received also affects how a message is understood.[7]

In Marshall McLuhan’s time, the global village was already apparent. It was already a comprehensive and seminal way to grasp what was happening to the world at large at any time (and correspondingly, what should be done with this in mind): "The global village absolutely ensures maximal disagreement on all points" (McLuhan: Hot & Cool. New York: The New American Library, p. 272).

During the primitive years, people primarily stayed in tune with the simultaneous mode of their perception and thinking.[7] Today human society struggles neurologically, with the simultaneous mode taking the upper hand once again.[7] Our brains are constantly adapting and morphing to the modifications of technological advancements.[7] Through technology, the creation of social media allows people to constantly comment on each other's posts as well as creating them to share with the multi-media global world. 55% of teens possess a social media account.[10] Social media has connected people with jobs that they couldn’t have received before because of their geographic location.[11] New social medias have connected the world so that users can learn more about cultures different from their own through interactions on social media as well as maintaining relationships from opposing countries.[12]

Global village and media[edit]

People use technology to fit into a digital community to which they aren't physically connected, but mentally connected. Each social media platform acts as a digital home for individuals, allowing people to express themselves through the global village.[7] A Review of General Semantics argues that media ecology and new media have expanded who has the ability to create and view media texts.[13] Since mass media began, it has called for the westernization of the world, hence the global village. Without the mass media in effect countries like India or Turkey wouldn’t be living American lifestyle because they wouldn’t have the knowledge of what the acquisitions of the American nation constitute. Since most of the developing countries acquired the news and entertainment from developed nations like the U.S, the information received is biased in favor of developed nations which connects the world in similarities within the media.[14]

On the Internet, physical distance is even less of a hindrance to the real-time communicative activities of people. Social Spheres are greatly expanded by the openness of the web and the ease at which people can search for online communities and interact with others who share the same interests and concerns. According to McLuhan, the enhanced "electric speed in bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree."[15] Increased speed of communication and the ability for people to read about, spread, and react to global news quickly, forces us to become more involved with others from various social groups and countries around the world and to be more aware of our global responsibilities.[15] Similarly, web-connected computers enable people to link their web sites together.[8]

Global theater[edit]

No chapter in Understanding Media, later books, contains the idea that the global village and the electronic media create unified communities. In an interview with Gerald Stearn,[16] McLuhan says that it never occurred to him that uniformity and tranquility were the properties of the global village. McLuhan argued that the global village ensures maximal disagreement on all points because it creates more discontinuity and division and diversity under the increase of the village conditions. The global village is far more diverse.

After the publication of Understanding Media, McLuhan starts using the term global theater to emphasize the changeover from consumer to producer, from acquisition to involvement, from job holding to role playing, stressing that there is no more community to clothe the naked specialist.[17]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Wyndham Lewis's America and Cosmic Man (1948) and James Joyce's Finnegans Wake are sometimes credited as the source of the phrase, but neither used the words "Global Village" as it is. According to M. McLuhan's son Eric McLuhan, his father, a Joyce scholar and a close friend of Lewis, likely discussed the concept with Lewis during their association, but there is no evidence that he got the idea or the phrasing from either; McLuhan is generally credited as having coined the term. Source: Eric McLuhan (1996). "The source of the term 'global village'". McLuhan Studies (issue 2). Retrieved 2008-12-30.
  2. ^ a b Poll, Ryan (2012). "Afterward: The Global Village". Rutgers University Press: 160. JSTOR j.ctt5hjdkj.13.
  3. ^ Golovine, Mila (2014-03-27). "Global Village: Where Cultures Connect". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  4. ^ Hendricks, Beth. "Marshall McLuhan & the Global Village Concept". Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Definition of 'global village'". Collins dictionary. Collins dictionary. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  6. ^ Yew, Lee. "The World Is Truly A Global Village". Forbes. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Mcluhan, Eric (1995). Essential McLuhan. Concord, Ont. : Anansi: HarperCollins. pp. 7–186. ISBN 978-0-465-01995-3.
  8. ^ a b c d Shachaf (2008). "Cultural diversity and information and communication technology impacts on global virtual teams". Information & Management. 45 (2): 131–142. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/
  9. ^ The Network Community: An Introduction to Networks and Global Village, By: Barry Wellman
  10. ^ "Center for Media Literacy". Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  11. ^ "Journal of Media Critiques [JMC]". Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  12. ^ Rebecca, Sawyer (2011-01-01). "The Impact of New Social Media on Intercultural Adaptation". Senior Honors Projects.
  13. ^ Valcanis, Tom (2011). "An iPhone in Every Hand: Media Ecology, Communication Structures, and the Global Village". ETC: A Review of General Semantics. 68: 33–45.
  14. ^ M, Kraidy, Marwan (2002-01-01). "Globalization of Culture Through the Media". Encyclopedia of Communication and Information: 359–363.
  15. ^ a b Understanding Media, McGraw Hill, 1964, page 5
  16. ^ Stearn, Gerald Emmanuel. McLuhan: Hot & Cool (1968), p. 272.
  17. ^ McLuhan, Marshall and Nevitt, Barrington. From Take Today: The Executive as Dropout (Harcourt Brace, 1972) p 265 and back cover.