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"The scholars most immediately associated with grammatology, understood as the history and theory of writing, include Eric Havelock (The Muse Learns to Write), Walter J. Ong (Orality and Literacy), Jack Goody (Domestication of the Savage Mind), not to mention Marshall McLuhan (The Gutenberg Galaxy). Grammatology brings to any topic a consideration of the contribution of technology and the material and social apparatus of language. A more theoretical treatment of the approach may be seen in the works of Friedrich Kittler (Discourse Networks: 1800/1900) and Avital Ronell (The Telephone Book)." --Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Grammatology is a term coined by the linguist Ignace Gelb in 1952 to refer to the scientific study of writing systems or scripts. It includes the typology of scripts, the analysis of the structural properties of scripts, and the relationship between written and spoken language. In its broadest sense, some scholars also include the study of literacy in grammatology and, indeed, the impact of writing on philosophy, religion, science, administration and other aspects of the organization of society.

In 1967 the deconstructionist philosopher Jacques Derrida borrowed the term, but put it to different use, in his book Of Grammatology. Derrida aimed to show that writing is not simply a reproduction of speech, but that the way in which thoughts are recorded in writing, strongly affects the nature of knowledge. Deconstruction from a grammatological perspective places the history of philosophy in general, and metaphysics in particular, in the context of writing as such. In this perspective metaphysics is understood as a category or classification system relative to the invention of alphabetic writing and its institutionalization in School. Plato's Academy, and Aristotle's Lyceum, are as much a part of the invention of literacy as is the introduction of the vowel to create the Classical Greek alphabet. Gregory Ulmer took up this trajectory, from historical to philosophical grammatology, to add applied grammatology (Applied Grammatology: Post(e)-Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys, Johns Hopkins, 1985). Ulmer coined the term "electracy" to call attention to the fact that digital technologies and their elaboration in new media forms are part of an apparatus that is to these inventions what literacy is to alphabetic and print technologies. Grammatology studies the invention of an apparatus across the spectrum of its manifestations--technology, institutional practices, and identity behaviors. Marc Küster combines Derrida's approach with Gelbs's study of writing to build a more inclusive view of the interaction between writing and our ways of viewing the world.

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