His approach to the subject is both synchronic in that he looks at cultures that coexist at a certain point in time, and diachronic in that he discusses the change in the West from being oral-based to chirographic which began with the appearance of script some 6,000 years ago. In addition to pinpointing fundamental differences in the thought processes of the two types of culture, he comments on the current emergence in Western society of what he calls a second orality. This second orality, dominated by electronic modes of communication (e.g., television and telephones), incorporates elements from both the chirographic mode and the orality mode which has been subordinant for some time.
Book: 1 Jan 1988
Orality and Literacy
The Technologizing of the World
Ong pulls together two decades of work by himself and others on the differences between primary oral cultures, those that do not have a system of writing, and chirographic (i.e., writing) cultures to look at how the shift from an oral-based stage of cons ciousness to one dominated by writing and print changes the way we humans think.
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