There are three categories of analysis when comparing litaracy and orality:
- modes of production (living)
- modes of legitimization (power structures)
- modes of communication
|Orality||- gathering, simple living, nomadic
- live hand to mouth
- little surplus / storage
- little need for recording
|- unity of spiritual and temporal authority (chief is a divine figure)||- words, signs, drums, fires|
|Literacy||- switch from nomadic to agriculture
- with agriculture, develop surpluses in food
- surpluses force a NEED for RECORDING (and need for taxation)
- we begin seeing tablets with recorded figures
|- spiritual and temporal authorities are differentiated
- literacy distinguishes between sender and receiver of message
- differentiation of functions in society: spiritual authority (priests), governing authority (king), etc.
- holy books are developed, and thus a need for a custodian for them develops (spiritual expert) / priests and priesthoods
- learning institutions and professionals (book caretakers / experts)
|- the PEN becomes the instrument of POWER
- rule by the PEN, not the SWORD
An example: In the Bush / Kerry debate...
Bush was a very effective 'oral' communicator- he spoke using short, emotional statements and was very understandable, and simple. He put things into black & white categories (good vs. evil, etc), and was repetitive.
Kerry debated using more 'literate' communication- his thoughts were much longer and complex, and followed a linear path.