Rhetoric and the Wireless Revolution

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This dissertation concerns the rhetorical discourses that define a wireless technology revolution in the United States. This inquiry engaged in rhetorical criticism of key documents, texts and exigencies embedded within successive stages of the wireless revolution spanning twenty years. Three sites of discourse were analyzed: the wireless industry's vision and construction of its own revolution including the views of its insiders, the wireless revolution as constructed by feature writers for the public press, and the public advertising of wireless phones and services. The resulting narratives revealed topics, lines of argument and "good reasons" for participation in the wireless revolution. Research was conducted following the grounded theory and rhetorical/critical perspective approaches. The method for discovering the primary topics was to randomly select and analyze extensive documentation from each of the three sites; from these materials eighteen texts were chosen as "representative anecdotes" which carried the core of the arguments during each phase. The dissertation concludes that the wireless communication revolution was not initiated by a single point of view, but by an entwining braid of multiple engaged resources within the three rhetorical sites. The revolution appears to be constituted, not constructed or determined, by the rhetorical mass that surround the artifact itself. Thus technology development and social change are mutually constitutive. The wireless revolution was propelled by the multitude of persuasive tactics within various rhetorical sites. There is not one discourse that propels the technology rather there are multiple strands. In the case of wireless technology, the strands of discourse were swept together at given moments in successive stages to create the revolution.

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  • 08/27/2018
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