Anthony J. Pennings, PhD



Posted on | February 27, 2010 | No Comments


This post starts my mini-series on How IT Came to Rule the World ©

0.1       One of Marshall McLuhan’s most celebrated intellectual “probes” was his paraphrase of Winston Churchill’s infamous “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” Churchill was addressing Parliament some two years after a devastating air raid by the Nazis that destroyed the House of Commons.[i] McLuhan reworded Churchill’s concern in the 1960s with a more topical “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” Writing in a time when the electronic media was exploding in the American consciousness, McLuhan undertook a commitment to understand the role of media, particularly electronic media in modern society and his probe serves here as a point of departure for understanding the emergence of information technologies and simultaneously interrogating their impact as a force increasingly “ruling” the modern world, both in terms of cultural, economic, and political power; as well as the preponderance of protocols and procedures ordering our digitized world.

[i] “On the night of May 10, 1941, with one of the last bombs of the last serious raid, our House of Commons was destroyed by the violence of the enemy, and we have now to consider whether we should build it up again, and how, and when.” He continued with the above quote arguing for the Chamber’s restoration, citing its “form, convenience, and dignity.”


AnthonyAnthony J. Pennings, PhD has been on the NYU faculty since 2001 teaching digital media, information systems management, and global political economy. He can be reached at


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    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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