Frasi di Neil Postman

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Neil Postman

Data di nascita: 8. Marzo 1931
Data di morte: 5. Ottobre 2003

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Neil Postman è stato un sociologo statunitense, professore elementare, teorico dei mass media e critico della cultura contemporanea.

Per più di quarant'anni è stato professore associato dell'università di New York.

È famoso al pubblico soprattutto per il suo libro del 1985 sulla televisione intitolato Divertirsi da morire. Il discorso pubblico nell'era dello spettacolo.

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Frasi Neil Postman

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„In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them.“

—  Neil Postman
Context: In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them. What students do in a classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say), and what they learn to do is the classroom's message (as McLuhan would say). Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly they sit and listen to the teacher. Mostly, they are required to believe in authorities, or at least pretend to such belief when they take tests. Mostly they are required to remember. They are almost never required to make observations, formulate definitions, or perform any intellectual operations that go beyond repeating what someone else says is true. They are rarely encouraged to ask substantive questions, although they are permitted to ask about administrative and technical details. (How long should the paper be? Does spelling count? When is the assignment due?) It is practically unheard of for students to play any role in determining what problems are worth studying or what procedures of inquiry ought to be used. Examine the types of questions teachers ask in classrooms, and you will find that most of them are what might technically be called "convergent questions," but what might more simply be called "Guess what I am thinking " questions.

„Print, in even more revolutionary ways than writing, changed the very form of civilization.“

—  Neil Postman
Context: Print, in even more revolutionary ways than writing, changed the very form of civilization.... the Protestant Revolution was contemporaneous with the invention of moving type.... the printing and distribution of millions of Bibles made possible a more personal religion, as the Word of God rested on each man's kitchen table. The book, by isolating the reader and his responses, tended to separate him from the powerful oral influences of his family, teacher, and priest. Print thus created a new conception of self as well as of self-interest. At the same time, the printing press provided the wide circulation necessary to create national literatures and intense pride in one's native language. Print thus promoted individualism on one hand and nationalism on the other.

„The relationship between information and the mechanisms for its control is fairly simple to describe: Technology increases the available supply of information. ...control mechanisms are strained...“

—  Neil Postman
Context: The relationship between information and the mechanisms for its control is fairly simple to describe: Technology increases the available supply of information.... control mechanisms are strained... When additional control mechanisms are themselves technical, they in turn further increase the supply of information. When the supply of information is no longer controllable, a general breakdown in psychic tranquillity and social purpose occurs. Without defenses, people have no way of finding meaning in their experiences, lose their capacity to remember, and have difficulty imagining reasonable futures.

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