Edited by David Rooney, Greg Hearn and Abraham Ninan
Chapter 2: The Material, Mental, Historical and Social Character of Knowledge
David Rooney and Ursula Schneider It is advisable in a book about knowledge economies to say what knowledge is, and so in this chapter we set out our explanation of what knowledge or, rather, knowing entails. Our view of knowing is relevant to knowledge economies because, first, it accounts for the environment (society, economy, firm) in which knowing occurs. Taking this approach is important because when discussing knowledge economy issues, we necessarily assume that knowers function in groups that are situated in specific contexts. Second, our approach also places an emphasis on the very human, enigmatic, messy and tacit qualities of knowing, and, as we will show, these aspects of knowing are the most important but difficult ones to conceptualize, plan and manage for. The lessons to be taken from this chapter, therefore, while abstract, are nevertheless practical. The simple point we make is that it is impractical to attempt to develop insights about the knowledge economy, and develop strategies and tactics in relation to it without sufficient understanding of the complex and differentiated nature of the subject of our concern. Our goal is to provide some intellectual scaffolding with which practitioners and researchers can plan and think sensibly about such an enigmatic subject. Tacit knowing in theory and practice We begin by discussing the tacit or enigmatic and foundational aspects of human awareness and knowledge of the world. Tacit knowledge is that which is not readily articulated. It consists of sentiments, feelings, emotions, hunches and so on. It is...
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