Technology studies and technical communication: substantive rhetoric revisited
Garrison, Kevin G.
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Technical communication scholars often study and contribute to studies of technology. By understanding the process of technological progression, a communicator may be placed in a position to actively participate in questions about technology in order to â€œcheck its dark side" (Bunge 181). This dissertation argues that the symbiotic relationship between technical communication and technology studies is questionable considering that the current â€œconstructivistâ€ paradigm of technology studies often misinterprets the critiques of important authors of technology, such as Jacques Ellul and Neil Postman. These authors have consistently been placed into a paradigm that a close reading of their ideas doesnâ€™t warrant. Because many studies of technology do not have a â€œmeaningful theory of technologyâ€ (Winner, â€œSocialâ€ 242) that maximizes human autonomy, this dissertation questions the â€œrhetoricalâ€ theories of communicators who connect their writing pedagogy and theories to the logics of Andrew Feenberg and other technology â€œconstructivists.â€ The end goal of this dissertation is to flesh out this element of technical communication scholarship.