The (Spiritual) Medium is the Message

Stevenson, Guy. 2017. The (Spiritual) Medium is the Message. Thresholds(2), [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This short mixed media piece considers the influence of spiritualism on the history of media and those who theorise it. It takes as its starting point Marshall McLuhan – founding father of North American media theory – and follows up on a comment by his friend the journalist Tom Wolfe that he spoke and wrote like a performing medium. This aesthetic, I suggest, has impacted the language and tone of the media scholars who have come after McLuhan, from Vilém Flusser through to Siegfried Zielinski. By riffing around Zielinski’s celebration of ‘illusion’ as dissemblance but also the willingness to risk one’s reputation and ideological moorings, I discuss the media scholar as pioneering trickster figure – deep digging, prophesying and engaged at all times in play.

Item Type:



Media Theory, Spiritualism, Marshall McLuhan, Siegfried Zielinski, Vilém Flusser, Anarcheology

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


29 November 2017Submitted
17 February 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

19 Aug 2019 09:14

Last Modified:

19 Aug 2019 09:14


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