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Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

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Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When we speak of clouds these days, it is as likely that we mean data clouds or network clouds as cumulus or stratus. In their sharing of the term, both kinds of clouds reveal an essential truth: that the natural world and the technological world are not so distinct. In The Marvelous Clouds, John Durham Peters argues that though we often think of media as environments, the reverse isand#160; just as trueand#8212;environments are media.

Peters defines media expansively as elements that compose the human world. Drawing from ideas implicit in media philosophy, Peters argues that media are more than carriers of messages: they are the very infrastructures combining nature and culture that allow for human life to thrive. and#160;Through an encyclopedic array of examples from the oceans to the skies, The Marvelous Clouds reveals the long prehistory of so-called new media. Digital media, Peters argues, are an extension of early practices tied to the establishment of civilization such as mastering fire, building calendars, reading the stars, creating language, and establishing religions. New media do not take us into uncharted waters, but rather confront us with the deepest and oldest questions of society and ecology: how to manage the relations people have with themselves, others, and the natural world.

A wide-ranging meditation on the many means we have employed to cope with the struggles of existenceand#8212;from navigation to farming, meteorology to Googleand#8212;The Marvelous Clouds shows how media lie at the very heart of our interactions with the world around us. and#160;Petersand#8217; book will not only change how we think about media but will provide a new appreciation for the day-to-day foundations of life on earth we so often take for granted.

Synopsis:

Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, Speaking Into the Air illuminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought.

"This is a most interesting and thought-provoking book. . . . Peters maintains that communication is ultimately unthinkable apart from the task of establishing a kingdom in which people can live together peacefully. Given our condition as mortals, communication remains not primarily a problem of technology, but of power, ethics and art." —Antony Anderson, New Scientist

"Guaranteed to alter your thinking about communication. . . . Original, erudite, and beautifully written, this book is a gem." —Kirkus Reviews

"Peters writes to reclaim the notion of authenticity in a media-saturated world. It's this ultimate concern that renders his book a brave, colorful exploration of the hydra-headed problems presented by a rapid-fire popular culture." —Publishers Weekly

What we have here is a failure-to-communicate book. Funny thing is, it communicates beautifully. . . . Speaking Into the Air delivers what superb serious books always do-hours of intellectual challenge as one absorbs the gradually unfolding vision of an erudite, creative author." —Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

Synopsis:

Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, Speaking Into the Air illuminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought.

About the Author

John Durham Peters is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Problem of Communication

The Historicity of Communication

The Varied Senses of "Communication"

Sorting Theoretical Debates in (and via) the 1920s

Technical and Therapeutic Discourses after World War II

1. Dialogue and Dissemination

Dialogue and Eros in the Phaedrus

Dissemination in the Synoptic Gospels

2. History of an Error: The Spiritualist Tradition

Christian Sources

From Matter to Mind: "Communication" in the Seventeenth Century

Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism

3. Toward a More Robust Vision of Spirit: Hegel, Marx, and Kierkegaard

Hegel on Recognition

Marx (versus Locke) on Money

Kierkegaard's Incognitos

4. Phantasms of the Living, Dialogues with the Dead

Recording and Transmission

Hermeneutics as Communication with the Dead

Dead Letters

5. The Quest for Authentic Connection, or Bridging the Chasm

The Interpersonal Walls of Idealism

Fraud or Contact? James on Psychical Research

Reach Out and Touch Someone: The Telephonic Uncanny

Radio: Broadcasting as Dissemination (and Dialogue)

6. Machines, Animals, and Aliens: Horizons of Incommunicability

The Turing Test and the Insuperability of Eros

Animals and Empathy with the Inhuman

Communication with Aliens

Conclusion: A Squeeze of the Hand

The Gaps of Which Communication Is Made

The Privilege of the Receiver

The Dark Side of Communication

The Irreducibility of Touch and Time

Appendix: Extracts (Supplied by a Sub-sublibrarian)

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226662770
Author:
Peters, John Durham
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Location:
Chicago
Subject:
General
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Communication
Subject:
History
Subject:
Mass media
Subject:
Linguistics
Subject:
History, Criticism, Surveys
Subject:
History & Surveys - General
Subject:
Communication -- Philosophy -- History.
Subject:
Communication Studies
Subject:
Linguistics - General
Subject:
Philosophy-Surveys
Subject:
General Philosophy
Copyright:
Edition Number:
Pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
106-913
Publication Date:
20011231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 halftones, 4 line drawings, 1 table
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Business » Communication
History and Social Science » Intercultural Communications » General
History and Social Science » Linguistics » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Humanities » Philosophy » Surveys
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment

Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$26.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226662770 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, Speaking Into the Air illuminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought.

"This is a most interesting and thought-provoking book. . . . Peters maintains that communication is ultimately unthinkable apart from the task of establishing a kingdom in which people can live together peacefully. Given our condition as mortals, communication remains not primarily a problem of technology, but of power, ethics and art." —Antony Anderson, New Scientist

"Guaranteed to alter your thinking about communication. . . . Original, erudite, and beautifully written, this book is a gem." —Kirkus Reviews

"Peters writes to reclaim the notion of authenticity in a media-saturated world. It's this ultimate concern that renders his book a brave, colorful exploration of the hydra-headed problems presented by a rapid-fire popular culture." —Publishers Weekly

What we have here is a failure-to-communicate book. Funny thing is, it communicates beautifully. . . . Speaking Into the Air delivers what superb serious books always do-hours of intellectual challenge as one absorbs the gradually unfolding vision of an erudite, creative author." —Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Synopsis" by ,
Communication plays a vital and unique role in society-often blamed for problems when it breaks down and at the same time heralded as a panacea for human relations. A sweeping history of communication, Speaking Into the Air illuminates our expectations of communication as both historically specific and a fundamental knot in Western thought.

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