Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Identification with Technology: Man as a Servomechanism


School of Communications


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



In his 1973 essay entitled The Rhetorical Situation, Burke spoke of technology as a great unwieldy leviathan and man s identification with technology as central to the rhetorical situation as we now confront it. Today, humanity s identification, or oneness, with technology has become increasingly literal. The situation is not just rhetorical, but also ethical, and ontological. The scope of the situation goes well beyond how much surveillance we subject ourselves to when we use a smart phone or social media, or the extent to which we give up on democracy when we mistake the political technology of voting for democracy itself. What s more, we are imagined and hailed as elements of numerous machinic assemblages. The better adjusted we are to the technological environment, the more we become servomechanisms of gadgets. We are probably not that far from the break boundary where the statement that technology is the extension of man needs to be reversed. The permeation of technology is by no means limited to our external environment. Endo-colonization is increasingly becoming a fact of life. It won t take long for us to take it as a platitude. The purpose of this essay is multifold. 1) It aims to further dispel the instrumental, value-free view of technology. [Points 2, 3, & 4 omitted for lack of space.] I have two more presentations at the Convention. One on folk criticism, the other on Deleuzian ethics. NOTE: I've applied for $250 this AY and am applying for $500 this time. Thanks!

Conference Name

Rhetoric Society of America Biennial Convention

Conference Location


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