Abstract

This article argues for closer dialogue between the work of Kenneth Burke and contemporary posthumanist philosophers, especially in the context of the small technologies of ubiquitous computing. A Burkean critique of commercial advertisements for the Motorola Droid phone demonstrates the potency of rhetorical criticism in unpacking the tropes of what I call "corporate posthumanism." Informed by contemporary posthumanist philosophers and critical theorists of technology, I depart from Burke's too-sweeping claims about technology to identify a "critical posthumanist" practice that can be found in the "check-in." By analogizing "checking in" through mobile phone technologies to canine marking strategies, I show how critical theories of technology ought to account for both the instrumentalizing and animalizing tendencies of digital media. The conclusion emphasizes the need for critical posthumanism to embrace a Burkean critique of efficiency, dramatistic analysis, and for a "definition of the animal (in a posthumanist spirit)."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2079
Print ISSN
0031-8213
Pages
pp. 201-227
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-02
Open Access
No
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