The Relevance of Feenberg's Critical Theory of Technology to Critical Visual Literacy: The Case of Scientific and Technical Illustrations

Kathryn M. Northcut, Missouri University of Science and Technology


Andrew Feenberg's critical theory of technology is an underutilized, relatively unknown resource in technical communication which could be exploited not only for its potential clarification of large social issues that involve our discipline, but also specifically toward the development of a critical theory of illustrations. Applications of critical theory help strengthen our discipline by forcing us to delineate extant approaches and consider whether democratic goals are being achieved through those approaches. If a critical theory of illustrations can be built from Feenberg's critical theory of technology, it should be useful for classroom instructors and researchers as well as theorists.