Innis’ perspective is based on an examination of how new media arise in the first place. In order to understand any medium, we must attend not only to its physical characteristics, but also to the way in which it is employed and institutionalized. Innis sees a dialectical relationship between society and technology: they influence one another mutually. According to this view, certain social forms and situations encourage the development of new media; these media, operating within existing situations, react back on society to produce a new cycle of change. It would thus be a mistake to consider Innis a technological determinist: he does not believe that technology drives social evolution. He does, however, appreciate the considerable power invested in communications technologies and monopolies of knowledge to shape culture. Instability resulting from a lack of balance between time- and space-biased media, and agitation from the margins of the empire can equally drive social change. In 2000, the rapid adoption of music-sharing software like Napster provoked an immediate reaction from both the recording industry and the law-makers. New regulations encouraged the development of new () technologies.


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