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

History and Technology 33 (2):196-219 (2017)
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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
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Archival date: 2019-07-01
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