The Displacive Fallacy: new media don’t replace old media

October 19th, 2010 by bruno boutot
Lovely piece about how technologies don’t just replace one another. Search for 3rd occurrence of “Displacive Fallacy” #

In high-technology societies, like the United States, our enthusiasm for the new leads us to what I call the Displacive Fallacy. This is the belief that a new technology displaces the old, and drives it from the field as a conquering army disperses the enemy. Pundits not so long ago prophesied that the telephone would displace the mails, that radio would displace the telephone, that the phonograph would displace live orchestras, and of course, that television would substantially displace both radio and the book. In the library world only a few decades ago some microfilm enthusiasts were predicting that microforms would displace books. Now we hear similar predictions of how audiovisual aids, motion pictures, tape recordings, television, or the computer will displace the book-or perhaps human beings themselves. #

The Republic of Letters
Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin on Books, Reading, and Libraries, 1975-1987
Edited by John Y. Cole
Library of Congress, Washington, 1989 #


Daniel J. Boorstin – photo: Wikimedia Commons

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