ABC: The Alphabetizaton of the Popular Mind by Ivan Illich, Barry Sanders PDF

By Ivan Illich, Barry Sanders

In ABC... thinker and cultural analyst Ivan Illich and medieval student and literary critic Barry Sanders have produced an unique, meticulous and provocative examine of the appearance, unfold and current decline of literacy. They discover he impression of the alphabet on basic idea tactics and attitudes, on reminiscence, on political groupings and religous and cultural expectancies. Their exam of the current erosion of literacy within the new technological languages of 'newspeak' and 'uniquack' they usually indicate how new attitudes to language are changing our global view our feel of self and of group.

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But fifteen years in North America, a decade in Europe, have elapsed since the emergence of television as a major medium of communication. Radio itself is, as a means of mass communication, only twenty years older. The modern, mass circulation newspaper is at least as old as the century. Studies of the mass media, therefore, are relatively new; changes in their structure, further, have imposed changing tasks on those who would study them. Inquiries into the mass media have utilized three techniques of inquiry: a tradition of content analysis derived from the history and criticism of literature; the social survey; a formalized analysis of content derived from the philosophy of neo-positivism and modern statistics.

Historical studies of the societies of the non-western world, from this point of view, are few. Wittfogel's Oriental Despotism —despite its own political biases—is a stimulating study in 37 Toward a Critical Sociology what may be termed bureaucratic ideology. Studies of anticolonial movements, of the type accomplished by Balandier and Worsley, deal with ideological responses to special i:elationships of exploitation. Werner's work on medieval protest movements has been mentioned. The studies of Rude and Soboul on the French Revolution depict western class conflict at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

By contrast with Lynd's essay, Mills' seems to bespeak European influences on American radical social thought. ) The ideological critique of the dead has proved somewhat easier. The origins of sociology itself have been discussed as part of the growth of a "scientistic" outlook. This outlook is held to entail: an extreme and naive faith in scientific 39 Toward a. Critical Sociology method as a generator of values, an implicit messianism, a demand that the world be regulated in every detail—a spiritual totalitarianism which must eventually have a political counterpart.

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