The Toronto School of Communication created a discourse on technology that was more concerned with the overall mediating effects of technology on social, political, and economic life. It was dubbed the Toronto School because both Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan taught at the University of Toronto.

Their research pointed out that a history of media and communications technologies is central to a history of civilization. Both theoreticians distinguished between oral, literate, and electronic societies. McLuhan was interested in the psychological and physiological effects of media, whereas Innis was interested in the socioeconomic–cultural and material effects of media.

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