THE POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEWER
tent critical analysis of the role of technology in tranforming man
and society, and has been recognized, especially in the United
States, as the spokesperson for human existence as it is threatened by
technological absorption; From the appearance of John Wilkinson'stranslation of Ellul's
La technique ou l'enjeu du siecle
The Technological Society,
few serious discussions of technology
as a social issue have avoided attention to Ellul's rhetoric. He has
provided the framework for discourse concerning technology by
stealing the presumption of argument from those scholars who see
technology largely as the means for improving human existence. In
reigns supreme as the anti-technology
spokesperson, the theorist most vocal in laying bare the dehumaniz-
ing aspect of progress based on the process of exploiting all available
means of transforming and organizing production and management
principle of efficiency. Moreover, Ellul's prescriptions-
carefully constrained in his works on technology per se in order to
maximize attention to "the problem"-are now being studied by a
wider audience than the small circle of Protestant readers who
would have found his version of Protestant theology interesting.
Social theorists of the reputation of John H. Schaar and Norman O.
Brown have begun to give critical attention even to Ellul's
theological texts and prescriptions.' Thus, in analyzing the work of
Ellul by placing this newest volume into the context of his corpus, it
is essential that the two themes of his critical analysis be advanced.
The first is the assessment of the phenomenon, technology, as it
dominates modern existence. The second closely related theme is his
personal religious prescription for dealing with this domination.
These themes revolve around the modern city, which serves as the
representation of the technological system in its full development as
well as the symbol for non-spiritual existence.
The many books of Ellul that are available in English translation
cannot be adequately summarized in a single essay. In reviewing hisoverall position as very personally summarized in the interview for-
In Season Out of Season,
one must pick and choose among
twenty previous translations, not to mention more than a dozen
books currently unavailable in English.
In this essay, therefore,
John H. Schaar, "Jacques Ellul: Between Babylon and the New Jerusalem,"
Vol. II, no. 4 (Fall, 1982): 102-118, and Norman O. Brown, "Jacques
Ellin: Beyond Geneva and Jerusalem,"
Vol. II, no. 4 (Fall, 1982): 119-126.
for current list of Ellul's books. All parenthetical page references in
the text are to
In Season Out of Season.