Global village is a term closely associated with Marshall McLuhan,[1] popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). McLuhan describes how electronic mass media collapse space and time barriers in human communication, enabling people to interact and live on a global scale. In this sense, the globe has been turned into a village by the electronic mass media.

Today, the global village is mostly used as a metaphor to describe the Internet and World Wide Web. According to McLuhan, modern communication technologies such as radio and television globalize communication by allowing users from all levels of society around the world to easily connect with each other and exchange ideas instantaneously. On the Internet, physical distance is even less of a hindrance to the real-time communicative activities of people, and therefore social spheres are greatly expanded by the openness of the web and the ease at which people can search for online communities and interact with others that share the same interests and concerns. Therefore, this technology fosters the idea of a conglomerate yet unified global community.[2]Due to the enhanced speed of communication online and the ability of people to read about, spread, and react to global news very rapidly, McLuhan says this forces us to become more involved with one another from countries around the world and be more aware of our global responsibilities. [3] Similarly, web-connected computers enable people to link their web sites together. This new reality has implications for forming new sociological structures within the context of culture.


There is some disagreement in the consideration of the Internet as promoting the idea of a global village. Modern theorist Glenn Willmott says McLuhan's idea of the global village is a clichéd phrase that does not take into account the corruption of the Internet by government and corporate censorship and control over information on the web (news and entertainment information in particular). [4] The notion of the digital divide also signifies why the idea of a global village is problematic; if not all people are connected to the Internet equally (notably minorities and the economically disadvantaged) and those that lack web access are excluded from global news and participating in online communities, then modern communication technology does not truly promote a global village as McLuhan described it for all people.

Communication media can also be used to divide people within the sphere of online communities. For example, scholars Marshall Van Alstyne and Erik Brynjolfsson offer a contrasting view in their paper, "Electronic Communities: Global Village or Cyberbalkans?" [5] They say that although modern communication technologies have the potential to create the unified communities reminiscent of McLuhan's idea of the Global Village, they also threaten to balkanize or fragment communities by allowing people to easily segregate themselves into geographic and special interest groups.

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Notes and references Edit

  1. Wyndham Lewis's America and Cosmic Man (1948) and James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake are sometimes credited as the source of the phrase, but neither used the words "global village" specifically. According to McLuhan's son Eric McLuhan, his father, a Joyce scholar and a close friend of Lewis, likely discussed the concept with Lewis during their association, but there is no evidence that he got the idea or the phrasing from either; McLuhan is generally credited as having coined the term. Source: Eric McLuhan (1996). "The source of the term 'global village'". McLuhan Studies (issue 2). Retrieved on 2008-12-30.
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de:Globales Dorf es:Aldea global fa:دهکده جهانی fr:Village global gl:Aldea global he:הכפר הגלובלי ja:グローバル・ヴィレッジ nl:Global village pl:Globalna wioska pt:Aldeia Global uk:Глобальне село zh:地球村

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