The Telephone Book  

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The Telephone Book (1989) is a work by Avital Ronell which focuses on three themes: technology, schizophrenia and electric speech. The book begins with a sustained examination of Heidegger's involvement with the (Nazi) National Socialist Party of Germany. Early in the book she describes it as a gesture of anti-racist activism. It proceeds through a history of the telephone, looking at the structure of "the call", as in Heidegger's "call of being", and applying that form to various subjects. A close friend of Derrida's, Ronell's work is heavily informed by the strategy of deconstruction, using close readings and looking at the play of language to find the marginalized group or idea that is pushed out from the center. In this work Ronell demonstrates the complexity of "the call" and its presence throughout contemporary culture including technology, psychology and art. In the book, the rejects the authoritarian position of the author and instead refers to herself as the "operator" of the text.

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