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Social Sciences | Marconi's Wireless and the Rhetoric of a New Technology

Marconi's Wireless and the Rhetoric of a New Technology

Toscano, Aaron

2012, XX, 145 p. 2 illus.

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  • Describes how a technology, specifically the wireless, adheres to cultural values
  • Provides the first rhetorical analysis of Marconi's wireless explaining how this historical technology fits modernist values of the early 20th century
  • Shows how to apply a rhetorical lens to new technologies
This book examines the discourse surrounding the wireless, created by the Anglo-Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. The wireless excited early twentieth-century audiences before it even became a viable black box technology. The wireless adhered to modernist values—speed, efficiency, militarization, and progress. Language surrounding the wireless is a form of technical communication, overlooked by today’s practitioners. This book establishes a broader definition for technical communication by examining a selection of the discourse surrounding Marconi's wireless. The book’s main themes are the following: 1) technical communication is all discourse surrounding technology, 2) the field of technical communication (or technical writing) should incorporate analyses of discourse surrounding technologies into its epistemology, 3) the wireless is a product of the society from which it comes (early twentieth-century Western civilization), and 4) the discourse surrounding the wireless is infused with tropes of progress—speed, efficiency, evolution, and ahistoricity.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Guglielmo Marconi - Marconi's Wireless - Modernism - New media technology - Positive popular press accounts - Rhetoric of Technical Communication - Science and Technology Studies - black box technology

Related subjects » Philosophy - Social Sciences

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