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DOI

10.7275/R57P8WBW

Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Abstract

This essay argues for the designation of industrial and manufacturing machines as technologies of communication. Within communication scholarship, ICTs are synonymous with the word technology. Many of our theories regarding technology are based on human interaction with and through ICTs. However, ICTs are not the only technologies involved in communication. Drawing on scholarship from media studies, human-machine communication, and science and technology studies, I demonstrate how people’s interactions with “mute” technologies constitute communication. Industrial processes could not occur without the exchange of information between human and machine, and these industrial “rituals” between human and machine produce a particular reality for the worker and the organization. I argue that to understand communication in a machine culture in which people are constantly interacting with a variety of technologies, communication scholars must begin to study the multiplicity of machines and devices that are part of our lives.

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