A Man with 5 Children

Elective 1: The Global Village

Background to term “The Global Village”

The phrase “global village” was first used by Marshall McLuhan, a media theorist in the 1960s, to describe a world that has been “shrunk” by modern advances in communications. McLuhan likened the vast network of communications systems to one extended central nervous system, ultimately linking everyone in the world.

McLuhan wrote that the visual, individualistic print culture would soon be brought to an end by what he called "electronic interdependence": when electronic media replace visual culture with aural/oral culture. In this new age, humankind will move from individualism and fragmentation to a collective identity, with a "tribal base." McLuhan's coinage for this new social organization is the global village, a term which has predominantly negative connotations in The Gutenberg Galaxy (a fact lost on its later popularisers).
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan)

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Backcover Blurb

“I want your child, and yours, and yours. What do I want from them? One day out of their lives. One day a year, till they turn twenty-one. One day for the camera to follow them.”

Gerry is a documentary film-maker who, on day each year, follows five children around with a camera. He shows the results annually on television. Yet for the children who grow up under Gerry’s (and the nation’s) watchful eye, the experience creates its own dynamic.

Are the participants his subjects, his children or his creations? What responsibility does a story-teller have to his subjects, his audience, and himself? How much does Gerry take? Does the presence of the camera distort the lives it is supposed to be capturing?

Spanning more than twenty years, A Man With Five Children invites you into a world of fractured celebrity and distorted vision.

Links to syllabus within the core text
Students explore a variety of texts that deal with the ways in which...