Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-11-2018


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Calvin L. Troup

Committee Member

Ronald C. Arnett

Committee Member

Janie Harden Fritz


Ellul, Technique, Technology, Media Ecology, Dialogue


The focus of this interpretive work is primarily to bring two Ellulian metaphors into conversation with one another: la technique, and “the word.” Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), a prominent French philosopher, sociologist, and theologian, is predominantly known for his critique of what he calls la technique, an underlying system which acts as an all-encompassing feature of necessity, which privileges the values of efficiency, speed, and progress in all societal endeavors, and which serves as the predominant interpretive lens by which we can examine and understand our current historical and cultural moment. Technique had its origination in the value system of the machine, but its tentacles have now reached into every aspect of human lived experience, turning humanity into a means, limiting human freedom, and reconstructing truth in terms of fact. In response to what Ellul calls the Technological Society, he presents the idea of “the word,” a dialogic metaphor which illuminates the intersubjective intentionality in human relation by recognizing the value of authentic “encounter” in a phenomenological space which Martin Buber described as “the between.” Ellul prioritizes dialogue over and against the totality of a world given over to Technique. This dissertation seeks to understand the dialectic between these two oppositions, to bring them into conversation with one another in an effort to understand how Ellul’s dialogic hermeneutic can serve as a response to Technique, and to present some possible solutions which can serve to guide human beings seeking liberation within the tyranny of the Technological Society.