Technology as Magic: The Triumph of the Irrational / Edition 1

Technology as Magic: The Triumph of the Irrational / Edition 1

by Peter Stirk
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826413676

ISBN-13: 9780826413673

Pub. Date: 08/01/2001

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

What gives the mass media, particularly advertising and television, their extraordinary power over our lives, so that even the most jaded and sophisticated among us are troubled and fascinated by their allure? The secret, according to Richard Stivers, in this brilliant new book, lies in the curious relationship between technology and magic. Stivers argues the two

Overview

What gives the mass media, particularly advertising and television, their extraordinary power over our lives, so that even the most jaded and sophisticated among us are troubled and fascinated by their allure? The secret, according to Richard Stivers, in this brilliant new book, lies in the curious relationship between technology and magic. Stivers argues the two are now related to one another in such a way that each has taken on important characteristics of the other. His contention is that our expectations for technology have become magical to the point that they have generated a multitude of imitation technologies that function as magical practices. These imitation technologies flourish in the fields of psychology, management administration, and the mass media, and their paramount purpose in human adjustment and control. Advertising and television programs, in particular, contain the key magical rituals of our civilization.In a fascinating analysis of television programming, Stivers shows how various genres--news, sports, game shows, soap operas, sitcoms, etc.--have their distinct mythological symbols. Through dramatized information, they symbolically connect consumer goods and services to desired outcomes--the utopian goals of success, happiness, and health--thus enveloping technology, both real and imitation, in a magical cocoon.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826413673
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
08/01/2001
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Introduction: The Paradox of Technology and Magic1
Chapter 1Both Technology and Magic14
Ellul's Theory of the Three Milieus16
Magic in the Three Milieus28
Chapter 2Dramatized Information: The Basis of Psychological Magic43
The Disintegration of Discourse44
Atomistic Words and Phrases52
Commonplace Expressions, Slogans, and Cliches59
Visual Images in the Media63
Symbolism in the Milieu of Technology68
Chapter 3Statistical Information: The Basis of Administrative Magic79
Statistics Everywhere82
Statistics: Moral and Normal92
Equality: Statistical and Social100
Magical Numbers, Magical Words, Magical Images107
Chapter 4The Mass Media as Magic109
The Fabrication of Images110
The Culture of Advertising118
Technological Utopianism: Myth and Ritual of an Advertising Culture125
Magic in the Media136
Chapter 5Therapy, Self-Help, and Positive Thinking as Magic140
Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology, and Clinical Social Work141
Self-Help and Positive Thinking143
The Effectiveness of Therapy155
Therapy as Magic158
Why the Individual and Society Need Therapy166
Chapter 6Management as Magic169
A Brief History of Management170
Contemporary Management Theories and Practices180
The Relation between Managerial Technique and Success191
Management as Magic195
Why Society and the Individual Need Management199
Chapter 7The Triumph of the Irrational201
The Failure of Education207
Irrationality and Freedom209
Notes213
Index237

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