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

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9780226662770: Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

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

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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 the A. Craig Baird Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He lives in Iowa City.

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John Durham Peters
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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. In contemporary debates, communication is variously invoked as a panacea for the problems of both democracy and love, as a dream of a new information society brought about by new technologies, and as a wistful ideal of human relations. How, and why, did communication come to shoulder the load it carries? In John Durham Peters s work, the teachings of Socrates and Jesus, the theology of Saint Augustine, the political philosophy of Locke, and the American tradition from Emerson through William James all become relevant for understanding communication in our age. Peters finds that thinkers across the centuries have struggled with the same questions - how we can hope for contact with others, what has become of human beings in increasingly technological times, how new modes of communication have altered the ways the world is imagined and how we relate to others - and he weaves intellectual history and communications history together. The book traces the yearning for contact not only through philosophy and literature but also by exploring the cultural reception of communication technologies from the telegraph to the radio. The history of communication, Peters shows, is not a triumphant progress toward global harmony but rather a collection of uncanny devices that conjure angels, spirits and alien intelligences. His is an account of a complex concept that has both shaped us and been shaped by us. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780226662770

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. In contemporary debates, communication is variously invoked as a panacea for the problems of both democracy and love, as a dream of a new information society brought about by new technologies, and as a wistful ideal of human relations. How, and why, did communication come to shoulder the load it carries? In John Durham Peters s work, the teachings of Socrates and Jesus, the theology of Saint Augustine, the political philosophy of Locke, and the American tradition from Emerson through William James all become relevant for understanding communication in our age. Peters finds that thinkers across the centuries have struggled with the same questions - how we can hope for contact with others, what has become of human beings in increasingly technological times, how new modes of communication have altered the ways the world is imagined and how we relate to others - and he weaves intellectual history and communications history together. The book traces the yearning for contact not only through philosophy and literature but also by exploring the cultural reception of communication technologies from the telegraph to the radio. The history of communication, Peters shows, is not a triumphant progress toward global harmony but rather a collection of uncanny devices that conjure angels, spirits and alien intelligences. His is an account of a complex concept that has both shaped us and been shaped by us. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780226662770

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