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The Languages of Edison's Light : Inside Technology - Charles Bazerman

The Languages of Edison's Light

Inside Technology

Paperback

Published: 1st March 2002
For Ages: 18+ years old
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Winner in the category of History of Science & Technology, 1999 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Annual Awards Competition presented by the Association of American Publishers, Inc. Technology is business, and dealing with the media, the public, financiers, and government agencies can be as important to an invention's success as effective product development. To understand how rhetoric works in technology, one cannot do better than to start with the American inventor Thomas Alva Edison and the incandescent light bulb. Charles Bazerman tells the story of the emergence of electric light as one of symbols and communication. He examines how Edison and his colleagues represented light and power to themselves and to others as the technology was transformed from an idea to a daily fact of life. He looks at the rhetoric used to create meaning and value for the emergent technology in the laboratory, in patent offices and courts, in financial markets, and in boardrooms, city halls, newspapers, and the consumer marketplace. Along the way he describes the social and communicative arrangements that shaped and transformed the world in which Edison acted. He portrays Edison, both the individual and the corporation, as a self-conscious social actor whose rhetorical groundwork was crucial to the technology's material realization and success.

Acknowledgments
How The Edison Papers Are Cited
Credit For Illustrations
Introduction Rhetorical And Material Action On The World Stage
The Opening Scene
Edison's Front-Page Story
Electric Light before Edison
Edison's Entry into Lighting
Scientific Friends and the Public Culture of Science
Patents, Finances, Corporations, and Cities
Narrative Heroism and Material Accomplishment
Establishing Meanings In Evolving Systems
The Public Stage of News
Networks of Information
Edison as an Apprentice to the News Industry
Publicity for the Phonograph
An Odd Man, Peculiarly American
Napoleon, Wizard, Genius
The Humor of Genius
Changes in Journalism
A New Kind of Hero
Publicity and Finances
Finances for Technological Enterprises
Changing Industry and Changing Finances
Edison and the New Technological Industries
Raising R&D Capital
Menlo Park: The Place of Invention
Documents from the Laboratory
The Meanings of Notebooks
The Publicness of Private Notebooks
Personal Activities Enacted in Private Notebooks
Documents and the Lives of Independent Inventors
Documents and the Life of an Inventive Collective
Scrapbooks, Collective Knowledge, Fame, and Intertextuality
Legal Documentation of Innovation: Experimental Researches
The Working Notebooks
The Work of Invention
Ideas and Evaluation
Working with Objects
Working with Collaborators
Representations and the Material Environment
Representations and the Evolving Practice
The Laboratory as a Locus of Communication
Individuals Meeting in the Laboratory
Edison's Presence in the Laboratory Communication
Patents as Speech Acts and Legal Objects
Edison's Patents
Patents of Ideas in the Making
Transforming Ideas into Intellectual Property
The History of Anglo-American Patent Laws
The Typification of Patent Form
Double Reference
Some Issues in Speech-Act Theory
The Living Complexity of Located Speech Acts
Genres as Speech Acts
Transforming an Idea into a Legal Entity
Reference and Predication Acts in the Patent Application
From the Speaker's Sincere Statement to the Examiner's Approval
Intentions and Intersubjectivity
The Character and the Limits of Legal Entities
Professional Presence: Edison in the Technical Press
Edison and the Formation of Electrical Engineering
The Emergence of Electrical Engineering in the United States
Machine Shop Tinkerers
Electrical Science in Britain
Government Control of Telegraphy in Britain and France
The Society of Telegraph Engineers
The Development of Telegraphy in the United States
The Telegrapher and the National Telegraphic Union
Edison as a Young Telegrapher
Western Union's Competing Journal
Stepping Back from the Telegraphic Press
Edison and The Operator
Edison's Failure as a Scientific American
An Inventor before the Scientists
Edison's Science
Back among the Electricians
Edison's Peculiar Place in The Electrical World
An American Industrialist, and Not a Scientific American
A Place in the Market
New Technologies and New Values
Rhetoric, Marketing, Created Value, and Social Change
Typified Representations and Typified Technologies
Edison Wants to Electrify the World
But He Sold Us on Incandescent Lighting
The Rise of Gas Utilities and the Formation of a Market
Fear and Instability in the Gas Lighting Market
Edison Addresses the Gas Lighting Market
Design Analogies
Explanatory Analogies
The Analogies of Competitive Advantages
A Good Competitive Analogy Is One Where You Come Out Better
Economics without Rhetoric? An Economy without People?
Making It Real: The Rhetoric Of Material Presence
Boasts, Deceptions, and Promises
Claimed Facts: The Imagined and the Material
From Optimistic Boast to Deception
Keeping Secrets and Closing the Deal
Pressure as a Motivator
Whose Trust Was Needed, and When?
The Problem of Maintaining Credibility
Claims and Promises as Speech Acts
Tokens of Material Production and Excuses for Delay
The Value of a Good Press and Its Cost
Corporate Obligations
Serious Work as the Only Available Token
Some Success, But the Task Not Yet Completed
Keeping Up a Bright Face
The Menlo Park Demonstrations
Keeping the Public in the Dark
A Timely Announcement
The Public Sees and Reads
The Light as a Symbol of Edison's Accomplishment
Technical Derision
A Competitor's Challenge
The Validity of the Complaints
Demonstrations for the Experts
Technical Disbelief
Technical Tests
Hostile Interpretations
Another Kind of Public Demonstration
The Complete System Unveiled
Demonstrating the Economic Efficiency of a Working System
Fairs and Exhibitions: Museums of the Future
Fairs and Exhibitions
A Place Edison Had to Be
An Opportunity That Had to Be Taken
An Impressive Display
The USELC's Allies in the Press
Massaging Egos
Buying Reporters
Buying the Catalogue
Buying Newspaper Pages
Cultivating the British Press
Trying to Silence the Competition
A Material Accomplishment
Stacking and Buying the Jury
The Rewards of Careful Work
The Triumph in the French Press
The British Technical Press Takes Edison Seriously
Edison on Top
Bottom-Line Results
The Crystal Palace Exhibit
Other Exhibitions
Lighting New York: Urban Politics and Pedestrian Appearances
Political Interests in Incandescent Lighting
Covered Political Tracks
New York City in 1880
Off the Record
Clues to the Unknown Story
Edison and the New York Aldermen
The Complex of Politics
The Reality of Isolated Installations
A Location for Visibility
The Construction of the Ordinary
Lighting Up the City
Multiple Promises, Delivery Dates, and Goods
Establishing Enduring Values
Patent Realities: Legal Stabilization of Indeterminate Texts
Two Stories of Indeterminacy and Determination
A Failed Patent Application
Ambiguity, Visibility, and Accountability
Changing Conditions, Changing Needs, and Changing Claims
The Stabilizing Context
Some Lessons
Competitors and the Attempt to Destabilize Acts
Industrial Success and Increasing Legal Stakes
Litigation against Sawyer and Man
Competing Patents and Control of the Industry
Creating a Historical Record
The Legal Need for a Clean and Plausible Story
Translating Clean Law into the Messy Marketplace
Charisma and Communication in Edison's Organizations
Charisma
Edison and His Disciples
A Magnetic Personality and Intensity of Work
The Hope of Extraordinary Rewards
Charisma as Communication
An Enduring Habit of Relationships
The Attempt to Routinize Charisma in the Edison Companies
Forms and the Control of Communication
Flexibility of Letter Reports
Standardization in Forms
Other Regularized Communication Flows
Managing People, Not Paper
The Formation of the Edison Companies
The Edison Manufacturing Companies
Early Tensions between Charisma and Routine
More Manufacturing Companies
Consolidations and the End of Charisma
The Local Power Companies as Extensions of Charisma
Franchises
Networks of Charismatic Power
The Rhetoric of Capital Investment: Solvency, Profits, and Dividends
Exhibiting the Product: The Paris Exhibition Textualized
A Working System
An Extraordinary Investment Opportunity
Routine Reports to Stockholders
Promises of Prudent Corporate Success
Ordinary Profits and Dividends
A Franchise Opportunity
Spreading Good Words and Maintaining the Faith
A Solid Corporation
The Language of Flowers: Domesticating Electric Light
A Catalogue of Flowers
Woman's Place within the Trade Journal
An Aesthetic Campaign
The Culture of Urban Domestic Life
From Upper Class to Middle Class
CONCLUSION SYMBOLIC INVENTION: MAKING MEANING IN TYPIFIED ACTIVITY SYSTEMS
Heterogeneous Symbolic Engineering
Systems of Discourse Circulation
Differentiated Values
Satisfactory Representations in Specific Discursive Systems
Material Accountability
A Rhetoric of Operations
Persuasion as an Influence on Consequent Actions
Conditions of Accomplishment
Symbolic Integration and the Process of Enlistment
Representational Resting Points
Interpretive Variability
Structurationism and Social Learning
The Individual and Society
Electrification as Revolutionary and Conservative
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780262523264
ISBN-10: 0262523264
Series: Inside Technology
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 434
Published: 1st March 2002
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.59