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ERIC Number: ED293165
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Apr
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Division, Unity, and Consciousness Raising: Burke and Ong on Technology.
Palmeri, Anthony J.
In an effort to contribute to the dialogue on the effects of the intensification of technology upon the structure and dynamics of human communication, this paper examines the views of technology in the works of Kenneth Burke and Walter Ong. The paper argues that their theories can be compatible, that Ong's view of writing as a technology which raises consciousness can supply what is missing in Burke's approach to rhetoric, and that Burke's satiric frame of rejection can be reconciled with Ong's "accepting yet not passive" approach to technology. First the paper discusses Burke's works, limited to three stages of his thinking about technology: the technological psychosis, the definition of man, and the "Helhaven" project--the imaginary, hypertechnological "culture bubble" on the moon. Then the paper considers Ong's concept of technology, which concentrates on the idea that technologies change the relationship between humans and information. Emphasis is placed on Ong's belief that writing is the most important technology, because only knowledge of writing allows for criticisms of other technologies. The paper concludes that Burke's satiric approach to technology is persuasive on purely empirical grounds. Burke insists that what is necessary to alleviate some of the ills of humankind is a fuller knowledge of what it means to be a symbol-using animal, while Ong's work suggests that such knowledge is only possible with the reflective capacity brought on by the interiorization of writing. In addition, both scholars will be remembered for having resisted an over-simplified explanation of the influence of technology. (Twenty references are appended.) (MS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A