Technological parables and iconic illustrations: American technocracy and the rhetoric of the technological fix

Johnston, S. F. (2017) Technological parables and iconic illustrations: American technocracy and the rhetoric of the technological fix. History and Technology, 33(2), pp. 196-219. (doi:10.1080/07341512.2017.1336851)

[img]
Preview
Text
141781.pdf - Accepted Version

552kB

Abstract

This paper traces the role of American technocrats in popularizing the notion later dubbed the ‘technological fix’. Channeled by their long-term ‘chief’, Howard Scott, their claim was that technology always provides the most effective solution to modern social, cultural and political problems. The account focuses on the expression of this technological faith, and how it was proselytized, from the era of high industrialism between the World Wars through, and beyond, the nuclear age. I argue that the packaging and promotion of these ideas relied on allegorical technological tales and readily-absorbed graphic imagery. Combined with what Scott called ‘symbolization’, this seductive discourse preached beliefs about technology to broad audiences. The style and conviction of the messages were echoed by establishment figures such as National Lab director Alvin Weinberg, who employed the techniques to convert mainstream and elite audiences through the end of the twentieth century.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Johnston, Professor Sean
Authors: Johnston, S. F.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:History and Technology
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0734-1512
ISSN (Online):1477-2620
Published Online:11 June 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
First Published:First published in History and Technology 33(2): 196-219
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
652811Trusting the technological fixSean JohnstonBritish Academy (BRITACAD)SG132088IS - INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES