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CHAPTER #3 HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT Knowledge of the past helps us anticipate the future. This is most apparent in 2 important realms. Message effects on audiences and society: Various media have given rise to similar concerns about the impact of mass-media content on individuals and society. Technological life cycles: Innovations in mass-media distribution systems have diffused throughout society in similar ways. Language Humans developed language. That much we know. When and how humans developed language is inherently debatable. Writing The oldest surviving evidence of writing is pictographs preserved on Sumerian (modern-day Iraq) clay tablets dating to 3500 B.C. The alphabet based on sounds instead of signs developed in ancient Phoenicia (modern-day Syria and Lebanon), traveled to Greece by 800 B.C., and then later to Rome. The Chinese developed paper by 100 A.D. Another 1,000 years passed before paper was widely used in Europe. The social impact of writing Writing: Divided people into classes (those who could read and write, and those who could not) Contributed the requisite record keeping necessary for the development of empires (e.g., accounting data) Defined knowledge transmitted across generations in terms of what was written and stored in libraries Contributed to the development of a consistent set of laws based on precedent. Before printing Writing first spread across Europe as monks reproduced religious books by hand. As trade increased throughout Europe, writing shops emerged for merchants, lawyers, and others who
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2010 for the course COM 250 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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