Original Research

‘Electricity is running through my veins’: Die Symbiose zwischen Mensch und Technologie in Marshall McLuhan’s Medientheorie

Valia Kraleva
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 65, No 1 | a312 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v65i1.312 | © 2009 Valia Kraleva | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 July 2009 | Published: 29 September 2009

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Valia Kraleva, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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‘Electricity is running through my veins’: the symbiosis between humankind and technology in Marshall McLuhan’s media theory

In contrast to a widespread technical-mathematical media model that reduces electronic media to transmission channels, thereby making information into a quantifi able commodity, Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, as early as the 1960s and 1970s, revealed the complex nature of the media irrespective of the contents that it conveyed. According to McLuhan, the media is an extension of the human body that expands human agency, but nevertheless leads to the ‘amputation’ of extended body parts. In this way, the medium becomes a constituent part of the body, while thereby taking on human qualities. Following McLuhan’s media theory, this article reveals the symbiosis between technology and the human body and emphasises the signifi cance of the artist for comprehending contemporary medial-technological reality and for overcoming the challenges that such a reality poses.


Symbiose; Mensch Technologie; Marshall McLuhan; Medientheorie


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