“Technique has penetrated the deepest recesses of the human being. The machine tends not only to create a new human
environment, but also to modify our very essence. The milieu in which we live is no longer ours. We must adapt ourselves,
as though the world were new… “ (complete quote below)
― Jacques Ellul,
Two thousand twenty-four marks the seventieth anniversary of the publication of
Jacques Ellul’s masterpiece La Technique, ou, l’enjeu du siècle (Armand Colin, 1954). It is also
the sixtieth anniversary of its English translation, The Technological Society (Alfred Knopf,
1964). Among hundreds of volumes of technology assessment and criticism, Ellul’s work stands
out for its penetrating insight, its impact on generations of thinkers, and its enduring relevance.
Much has happened in the decades since this book first appeared and Ellul himself
expanded and developed his perspectives on our technological society and culture over the
years until his death in 1994. Without any doubt, the development and application of
technique/technology has brought many benefits to our lives. At the same time, the concerns
expressed by Ellul have also been born out as technology dominates every aspect of our lives
and every corner of our world.
The International Jacques Ellul Society invites not only critical scholars but thoughtful technology creators, managers, and users to a three-day gathering to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Ellul’s most famous and influential book, to probe its insights and continuing relevance, and to explore the contemporary meaning and challenge of technology. Our purpose is not just to look backward but to move forward in a search for insight, understanding, and response to our technological world.
THE CONFERENCE REGISTRATION PAGE will be open by June 1, 2023. US $200 regular / $100 students and unemployed/financial hardship ($230/$130 after May 1, 2024).
The conference will take place on the campus of Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago. Registrants (including presenters) are responsible for their own transportation, meals (except for a Thursday evening banquet included as part of the conference), and housing (a list of local options will be provided this summer on this website.
We encourage not only academic-based papers that amplify or even critique Ellul’s contributions in The Technological Society, but also presentations that creatively engage the themes of the book artistically or through practical applications in society.
More information about transportation and lodging options will be forthcoming. Please know at this stage that Roosevelt University is a block from the downtown ‘L’ rail system, and it is also across the famed Michigan Avenue from the Chicago Art Institute.
“Technique has penetrated the deepest recesses of the human being. The machine tends not only to create a new human environment, but also to modify man’s very essence. The milieu in which he lives is no longer his. He must adapt himself, as though the world were new, to a universe for which he was not created. He was made to go six kilometers an hour, and he goes a thousand. He was made to eat when he was hungry and to sleep when he was sleepy; instead, he obeys a clock. He was made to have contact with living things, and he lives in a world of stone. He was created with a certain essential unity, and he is fragmented by all the forces of the modern world.”