The Appeal of Marshall McLuhan in Contemporary China

Minglian HAN


While his name has been largely forgotten in the Western world, Marshall McLuhan and his thoughts are becoming more and more appealing to academics in China. The main causes can be found in six aspects: 1) a new appreciation of the value of Marshall McLuhan’s writing on the effects media has on society due to the dramatic impact the rapidly growing popularity of the Internet in China has had on Chinese people and Chinese society; 2) 457 million Chinese Internet users embracing the sense of belonging to “Global Village”, where they can “extend their central nervous systems”; 3) having experienced so many great changes, Chinese being readily convinced by Marshall McLuhan’s consistent theories that media can change the traditions including the world; 4) Marshall McLuhan’s highly theoretical style of writing provides an opportunity for Chinese academics to extend their research and to expand their own thoughts as well; 5) the significant enlightenment that Marshall McLuhan’s two famous concepts of “Hot Medium” and “Cold Medium” have had on Chinese media where competition is intensely increasing and reform is further taken; and 6) the deep and far-reaching influence that Marshall McLuhan’s theories on media have had on Chinese academic perspectives, and as well as their teaching methodology and technique, particularly in the fields of culture and communication.
Key words: Marshall McLuhan; China; Internet; Global Village; Media; the Extensions of Man

Résumé: Bien que son nom a été largement oublié dans le monde occidental, Marshall McLuhan et ses pensées sont devenus de plus en plus attrayants pour des universitaires en Chine. Les causes principales peuvent être trouvées dans six aspects: 1) une nouvelle appréciation de la valeur des oeuvres de Marshall McLuhan qui parle des effets de médias sur la société en raison de l'impact dramatique de la popularité croissante de l'Internet en Chine et son influence sur les Chinois et la société chinoise, 2) 457 millions d'internautes chinois embrassant le sentiment d'appartenance au “village mondial”, où ils peuvent "étendre leur système nerveux central", 3) après avoir vécu tant de grands changements, les Chinois étant facilement convaincus par les théories de Marshall McLuhan selon laquelles les médias peuvent changer les traditions, y compris le monde; 4) le style théorétique de l'écriture de Marshall McLuhan donne une occasion aux universitaires chinois d'approfondir leurs recherches et développer leurs propres pensées et, 5) l'illumination significative que les deux concepts célèbres de Marshall McLuhan "Média chaud" et "Média froid" ont eu sur les médias chinois où la concurrence est en croissance intense et la réforme sera en outre prise, et 6) l'influence profonde et de grande envergure que les théories de Marshall McLuhan sur les médias ont eu sur les perspectives académiques chinoises, ainsi que leurs méthodes et techniques d'enseignement, notamment dans les domaines de la culture et de la communication.
Mots-clés: Marshall McLuhan; En Chine; Internet; Village mondial; Médias; Extensions de l'Homme


Marshall McLuhan; China; Internet; Global Village; Media; the Extensions of Man ; Marshall McLuhan; En Chine; Internet; Village mondial; Médias; Extensions de l'Homme

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