ABC: Alphabetization of the Popular Mind

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9780679721925: ABC: Alphabetization of the Popular Mind

An intense examination of the effects of technology on literacy and language. The authors argue that there is a phenomenon transforming modern culture--language is becoming part of a technology of "information systems" with an emphasis on control, rather than human exchange. As a result, all language is becoming debased.

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From the Publisher:

"What Illich and Sanders have done...is to trace the advent and spread of the written word...and analyze the effects the switch from an oral to a written tradition has had on both the inner life of the individual and the collective life of the society."--JoAnne Gutin, The Voice (Berkeley, California)

From Publishers Weekly:

Maverick social critic Illich (Medical Nemesis) and medievalist Sanders have teamed to write a dense, frustrating essay on the way written language affects our perception of ourselves and the world. They claim that the modern self is an "alphabetic construct": each of us weaves a cocoon of stories about ourselves, and we can only do so because of narrative literary traditions of the past several centuries. Ranging over the history of alphabets, intriguing word lore, a comparison of the Iliad with Serbian epics, the origins of autobiography and Huckleberry Finn, the authors reach sweeping, ill-defined conclusions. Lying and moral feigning, they argue, are possible because memory is like a mental text. Human culture, in their ethnocentric view, was made possible by alphabetic writing. They fail to consider societies based on ideographic or hieroglyphic scripts. The final chapter, on Orwellian newspeak, pinpoints the dangers of applying computer terminology to human interaction.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Barry Sanders, Ivan Illich
Published by Vintage (1989)
ISBN 10: 0679721924 ISBN 13: 9780679721925
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Barry Sanders; Ivan Illich
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