Diversity and Relational Perspectives
Edited by Katerina Nicolopoulou, Mine Karataş-Özkan, Ahu Tatli and John Taylor
Chapter 1: What Makes a Knowledge Society? Privileging Discourses
1. What makes a knowledge society? Privileging discourses Jennifer Adelstein INTRODUCTION According to the world view of many scholars, politicians, business people and others, we live in a ‘knowledge society’ (Drucker, 1993; Sharma et al, 2009), a ‘knowledge economy’ (Mokyr, 2002; Foss, 2007), or an ‘information economy’ (Boisot, 1998; Wolff, 2005; Schreyögg and Geiger, 2007). The rhetoric is laden with a mythology that equates such contemporary world views with those of historical golden ages of human endeavour; of unique and specific periods of human flourishing. This new society is perceived to be a break from bleaker historic periods that restricted or at least limited human progress. If we inhabit such a society, it may be more appropriate to gain perspective on it and move some distance in time from the awkward constraints of the current ‘post’ society, which Bell (1973) describes as post-industrial, and Drucker (1993) denotes as post-capitalist. To do this, the chapter focuses on what may be considered to be an earlier knowledge society, the historical periodization known as the Renaissance. It was a time that was also constitutive of a knowledge society; one that wrought huge social change and contained all the elements cited as fundamental to a contemporary Knowledge Society. I contend that the evolution of printing was as revolutionary in its impacts on European society 500 years ago as computer technology has been for the present period, a point also argued by McLuhan (1962). Fundamental to the concept of a knowledge society is the...
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