Sarah Jane Fox | Resources Policy
This essay examines Marx’s style and argumentation to argue that Marx crafted a rhetoric of technology that has empowered critics and theorists to assert that he advocated a range of competing philosophies of technology. It analyzes Marx’s use of monsterization and mechanization tropes to show how his technological writings can be associated with multiple conceptions of technology, including technological determinism, technological domination, social constructivism, and human/nonhuman assemblages. Monsterization is intended to mean the attribution of monstrous characteristics to things or people while mechanization is the attribution of machinelike characteristics to nonmechanical things. The essay then turns its rhetorical analysis toward Marx’s argumentation to show how his use of contradictions has aligned his writings with technological neutrality, liberation technology, and political technology. Monsterization, mechanization, and contradiction thus provide the textual evidence for Marx’s philosophical multiplicity while also articulating a wide-ranging rhetoric of mid-nineteenth-century industrial technology.