Recollecting La Technique : industrial heritage sites and the rhetoric of technology

Authors
Adamczyk, Christopher Lee
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Other Contributors
Haskins, Ekaterina V., 1969-
Deery, June
Zappen, James Philip
Esrock, Ellen J.
Winner, Langdon
Issue Date
2019-08
Keywords
Communication and rhetoric
Degree
PhD
Terms of Use
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
This electronic version is a licensed copy owned by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Copyright of original work retained by author.
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Abstract
Industrial heritage sites are locations that exemplify both public memory and the rhetoric of technology. In this dissertation, I interpret three examples of industrial heritage sites to identify and characterize their common rhetorical features. Using Lowell National Historical Park, I identify how industrial heritage sites root their rhetoric in the technological sublime. Using the National Museum of Industrial History, I describe how industrial heritage sites invite their guests to orient toward workers’ experiences using textual, visual, and experiential displays. Finally, using Thomas Edison National Historical Park, I identify how industrial heritage sites situate sublime technology and guests-as-workers within a technocratic, national scene. With these three features considered, I then argue that industrial heritage sites, and thus the rhetoric of technology they invoke, can be understood as manifestations of what Jacques Ellul terms la technique. I conclude by suggesting an alternative way to recollect the technological past that draws upon virtue ethics.
Description
August 2019
School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Department
Dept. of Communication and Media
Publisher
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
Relationships
Rensselaer Theses and Dissertations Online Collection
Access
CC BY-NC-ND. Users may download and share copies with attribution in accordance with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. No commercial use or derivatives are permitted without the explicit approval of the author.