Writing permits asynchronous communication. Because it does not base the act of communication upon presence, it does not require the person communicating to be in either the same place or the same time as the person receiving the communication. The one communicating information places it in a form that permits someone else to receive it later. Writing, printing, cinema, and video are all forms of asynchronous communication.

For millennia, writing was nonetheless a technology that oddly combined orality and literacy. What material conditions could explain this fact?

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Last modified 24 October 2005