Dramaturgy, wargaming and technological innovation in the United States Navy: Four historical case studies

Thomas Choinski, Salve Regina University


The research and findings discussed in this dissertation use a historical perspective to examine the implications of dramaturgical action and wargaming for technological innovation in the United States Navy. Four wargame case studies conducted at the Naval War College between 1919 and 1924 serve as the basis for the research and subsequent analysis. Each wargame entailed the use of submarine platform types in the tactical level wargames. This dissertation relied upon an interdisciplinary approach to technological innovation which was situated at the intersection of the philosophy of technology, action theory and the history of the United States Navy. The approach used to develop the critical argument for this thesis work included a presentation of the underlying assumptions for the definition of technology including its link to the praxis of innovation; discussion of the historical and philosophical material that serves as the interdisciplinary foundation for the research; and an in depth comparative analysis of the four wargame case studies based on information retrieved from the Naval War College archives. Kenneth Burke’s characterization of the dramaturgical situation served as the primary tool to conduct the analysis in conjunction with the definition of technology supplied in the entering assumptions. The findings presented in this dissertation reveal unique relationships between the communities that interact at multiple levels to produce naval innovation, the influence asserted through changing geo-political situations and how wargaming serves as a catalyst for innovation.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Military history|Military studies

Recommended Citation

Choinski, Thomas, "Dramaturgy, wargaming and technological innovation in the United States Navy: Four historical case studies" (2017). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI10265808.