Call for Papers: International Journal of McLuhan Studies


International Journal of McLuhan Studies

The International Journal of McLuhan Studies seeks contributions for each monograph issue, embracing different theoretical and methodological approaches, to review McLuhan’s critical thought as represented in his lectures and writings. The aim of the Journal is to open a dialogue between academics, researchers, teachers, artists and business people, in order to relate the contributions of Marshall McLuhan to contemporary questions focused on issues of production, co‐production and the consumption of media, intelligence, education, memory, identity, desire, art, design, collaboration and technology in the society of knowledge.

McLuhan Studies

Spring   ‐   Summer 2012, Issue 2

 Education Overload – From Total Surround to Pattern Recognition

Streams: Alternative learning environment, collaborative learning, digital natives, educational computing, educational gaming, educational media ecology, edupunk, edutainment, e-portfolios, e-readers & iPads, figure-ground analysis, invisible learning, digital literacy, learning analytics, learning biologies, learning interfaces, learning economies, massive online open courses (MOOC), new pedagogies, social-media driven education, tertiary orality, training of perception, Web learning, wiki culture.  

Call for papers:

The United Nations General Assembly in 2002 declared the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development: a ten‐year period from 2005 to 2014 in which it is increasingly evident that education, culture and the way children are brought up form the keys for peaceful co‐existence and a sustainable future.

Education was one of the central concerns of McLuhan’s work. Marchessault (2008) writes that McLuhan’s total body of work expresses “deeply and consistently pedagogical project” (p. 4). The two volumes Report on Project in Understanding New Media (1960), commissioned by the National Association of Educational Broadcasters, and The City as Classroom: understanding Language and Media (1977) open a wide perspective on education, pedagogy and media in the Electronic Era. .

Marshall McLuhan’s ideas on education and learning were proposed in lectures and writings, mainly during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Harshly critical of the “place‐based, book‐paced” educational practices of the time, McLuhan offered a compelling vision of learning to replace lectures with active student participation, interaction and involvement, engaging learners in discovery learning, rather than pre‐packaged teacher and textbook‐delivered content to be regurgitated on tests. His vision of “classrooms without walls” included a transition from hardware to software, redefinition of teacher roles, elimination of subjects, reform of assessment, and the use of instructional media, not just books. The curriculum would focus on media literacy and include the training of perception through figure/ground analysis and the inclusion of arts education. Noting the trend toward “learning a living”, the constant upgrading of knowledge and skills by professional workers, he anticipated today’s emphasis on lifelong learning and workplace training. If McLuhan’s writings and lectures on media anticipate the Internet, social media and global consciousness, his work on education and learning anticipates today’s use of instructional media, online, collaborative and experiential learning, constructivism, as well‐as lifelong learning and other current trends in education. He noted in 1967 that: “the little red schoolhouse is already well on its way toward becoming the little round schoolhouse” foreshadowing the arrival of the most powerful learning platform yet devised – the Internet. Traditional classrooms and the global village would give way to a global “classroom without walls”.*

Contemporary society is presently facing a situation of “education overload”, in which the information environment outside of schools is far richer than that inside of schools, in which virtual environments offer a multifaceted and complex dimension for learning practices, in which people suffer the limits, and benefit of the possibilities of this “total surround” of information and knowledge. In this scenario traditional pedagogies no longer suffice for a world that calls for new visions, tools and skills for training in perception and pattern recognition.

The International Journal of McLuhan Studies invites the submission of full papers related to these themes (8000 words maximum, references not included). All submitted papers will be refereed and the authors of those accepted will be notified, accompanied by revision suggestions where necessary, and asked to submit a camera ready version to be published in Issue 2 of IJMS.

Deadline for full paper submissions: June 3, 2012

 First step: double blind peer review

‐ Full paper submission, maximum 8000 words, references not included

‐ Submission opens April 30th and close June 3, 2012

‐ Papers must be electronically submitted according to the guidelines published on the website (

Second Step:

‐ Papers accepted will receive detailed feedback and suggestions for revision, where necessary, to be taken into consideration before submission of the camera‐ready version for publication in the Journal

‐ Every accepted paper requires proofreading by a proof reader of the mother tongue.

Some Marshall McLuhan probes and ideas on education and learning:

“The business of school is no longer instruction but discovery. And the business of the teaching establishment is to train perception upon the outer environment instead of merely stenciling information upon the brain pans of children inside the environment.”

“The goal of science and the arts and of education for the next generation must be to decipher not the genetic but the perceptual code. In a global information environment, the old pattern of education in answer finding is of no avail; one is surrounded by answers, millions of them, moving and mutating at electric speed. Survival and control will depend on the ability to probe and to question in the proper way and place. As the information that constitutes the environment is perpetually in flux, so the need is not for fixed concepts but rather for the ancient skill of reading that book, for navigating through an ever uncharted and unchartable milieu. Else we will have no more control of this technology and environment than we have of the wind and the tides”.

“What is indicated for the new learning procedures is not the absorption of classified and fragmented data, but pattern recognition with all that that implies of grasping relationships (…) We seem to be approaching the age when we shall program the environment instead of the curriculum.”

“There is no kind of problem that baffles one or a dozen experts that cannot be solved at once by a million minds that are given a chancesimultaneously to tackle a problem. The satisfaction of individual prestige, which we formerly derived from the possession of expertise, must now yield to the much greater satisfactions of dialogue and group discovery. The task yields to the task force.” 

…continue online at        


_________________________ *References: 

Marchessault, J. (2008, May). McLuhan’s pedagogical art. Flusser Studies 05. Retrieved from‐pedagogical.pdf                                                        

McLuhan, H.M. (1960, June 30). Report on project in understanding new media. Washington, DC: National Association of Educational Broadcasters. 

McLuhan, M., & Leonard G.B. (1967, February 21). The future of education: The class of 1989, LOOK Magazine. pp. 23-25.  

McLuhan, M., Hutchon, K., & McLuhan, E. (1977). City as classroom: Understanding language and media. Agincourt, ON: Book Society of Canada. 

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