CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Marshall McLuhan’s theory of the global village

The Story

The book is no longer "king," says Marshall McLuhan, a professor at the University of Toronto's St. Michael's College. McLuhan studies the effects of mass media on behaviour and thought. In this CBC report on the teenager, he discusses how our youth facilitate the global shift from print to electronic media. Television has transformed the world into an interconnected tribe he calls a "global village." There's an earthquake and no matter where we live, we all get the message. And today's teenager, the future villager, who feels especially at home with our new gadgets -- the telephone, the television -- will bring our tribe even closer together.

Medium: Television
Program: Explorations
Broadcast Date: May 18, 1960
Guest(s): Marshall McLuhan
Host: Alan Millar, John O'Leary
Duration: 8:44

Did You know?

• At the time of this interview McLuhan was working on The Gutenberg Galaxy, in which the idiom "global village" first appeared. It was his most prominent book next to Understanding Media (1964).

• McLuhan warned that the future global village would be wrought with violence. He figured the electronic process would force people to "re-tribalize," placing excessive stress on individuals and traditional identities.

• He wrote a draft of The Gutenberg Galaxy in less than a month and the book was published shortly after in 1962. It examines the effects of the printing press on thought and space. McLuhan maintained it lessened the need for manuscripts, put monks and scribes out of work and developed a correct spelling usage.

• His first book, The Mechanical Bride , published in 1951, maintained that advertisers exploited images of women to sell products.


Marshall McLuhan, the Man and his Message more