Communication and Rhetorical Studies
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Anthony M Wachs
Janie Harden Fritz
Media Ecology, Neil Postman, Technopoly, Philosophy of Communication, Modernity, Rhetoric, Communication Pedagogy, Wendell Berry, Robert Caro, Myles Horton
This project walks the work of Neil Postman (1931-2003) into the philosophy of communication. Traditional conceptions of Neil Postman’s body of work position his ideas within the traditions of media ecology, general semantics, or, more broadly, as a form of media studies and criticism. In addition, others label Postman’s work, especially in Technopoly (1992), as pessimistic, deterministic, and/or imbibed with Luddite tendencies. This project articulates a different view and contends that Postman’s scholarship, in particular his articulation of the loving resistance fighter in the final chapter of Technopoly, is committed to resisting the nefarious forces embedded in both technology and modernity. It shows that Postman’s loving resistance fighter provides meaningful communicative practices that prevent one from falling into existential despair or acquiescing to the demands of technopoly. The loving resistance fighter’s emphasis on creating social and psychic distance from technology allows one to view technology with unclouded judgment and to see how technology becomes intertwined with the goods of modernity (progress, efficiency, and individual autonomy). Therefore, this project shows that the loving resistance fighter offers hope and the narrative ground to refuse both technology and modernity.
McCullough, R. (2023). Neil Postman's Loving Resistance Fighter: A Philosophy of Communication in the Age of Technopoly (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/2141