Unit Overview and Introduction
The global knowledge society reflects an innovative way of organising societies, economies, culture and politics by utilising theory, science, technology and communications. It offers a means to overcome the legacy of underdevelopment and address persistent and emerging problems like inequality, depletion of resources, and intercultural/national conflicts through education, communication and application of advanced theoretical insight. It proposes a model for change in advanced and developing societies.
Selected Biography/autobiography for the written paper
Activities: L&T content outline and objectives, expectations and assessments, contact details.
The concepts of the Information Society, post-industrialisation and the knowledge society are drawn from visions about how technology and social organisation would interact to drive new opportunities for democracy, wealth creation, peace and security. They were also a deeply ideological project.
Webster, Frank (2005). Making Sense of the Information Age
In Information, Communication & Society. Vol. 8, No4 December 2005,
McDowell, Stephen D. (2001), ‘Theory and Research in International
Communication: A Historical and Institutional Account,’ in William Gudykunst
and Bella Mody (eds.), Handbook of International and Intercultural
Communication (Second Edition) Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Tutorial questions: What constitutes a post-industrial society? Has technology been used to improve well-being and security? What are the values behind the information society? Are there alternatives or deficiencies?
The Promise of the Knowledge Society
The knowledge society reflects an idealistic proposition on the development of science, technology, information and communication to benefit whole communities. It reflects a model for development that is applicable to both advanced and emerging economies.
UNESCO (2005). ‘Introduction’ in Towards Knowledge Societies (UNESCO World Report) Stehr, Nico (2007). ‘Modern Societies as Knowledge Societies’ in Sales, A. & Fournier, M. (Eds) Knowledge, Communication & Creativity. London: Sage.
Tutorial questions: What is the premise of the knowledge society? Does it hold any value for improving life? What social, cultural and political factors inhibit its application? Why is theory useful for development and policy formation?
Educating the Knowledge Worker
The knowledge economy reflects the structuring of production and society in ways that encourage the commodification of information and knowledge. This approach reflects the values of individual financial gain and private enterprise. It has become the favoured approach of national governments and international policy organisations.
Delanty, Gerard. (2001). ‘The University in the Knowledge Society’, in Organization 8(2).
Reich, Robert B. (1992). ‘The Education of the Symbolic Analyst (I)’ in The work of nations: Preparing ourselves for 21st century capitalism, New York:Vintage Books.
Tutorial questions: What are the values of the Knowledge Economy? How might these values and practices work against social interests? Who is likely to find knowledge economy a positive approach? Why is knowledge important for innovation?
Working in the Knowledge Society
Establishment of a global market linked through communication technologies has changed the nature of work in many industries associated with the information age. Knowledge is central to catching the opportunities of the global economy and universities play a key role in training the workers.
Kessels, Joseph. (2001).’Learning in organizations: a corporate curriculum for the knowledge economy”
Drucker, P. (1998). ‘The Discipline of Innovation’ Harvard Business Review, November-December.
Tutorial questions: Why has knowledge become so important to work in the global economy? What are the skills necessary to succeed in the information society? Why has advanced knowledge education become an important policy issue for governments? If advanced knowledge is so important for national economies success, why have many governments introduced university fees? Should government, business or the individual support the cost of education?
Media and the Global Public Sphere
Media and communications argued to be the safeguard of democratic rights and citizenship yet these institutions seem to be playing a diminishing role in reflecting the public interest.
Calhoun, C. (2007). ‘Information Technology and the International Public Sphere’ in Sales, A. & Fournier, M. (Eds) Knowledge, Communication & Creativity. London: Sage.
Gandy, Oscar. H. (2002). The Real digital divide: Citizens versus consumers, in Leah A. Lievrouw and Sonia M. Livingstone (eds.), The Handbook of New Media: Social Shaping and Consequences of ICTs, London: Sage Publications.
Tutorial questions: Does the media or new communications offer the best way to raise issues and explore the promise of the knowledge society? How many public spheres exist in each society and internationally? Do these public spheres offer places to debate alternative or controversial views that make up society? Which voices seem to be strongest in the public sphere? Is Wikileaks important for democracy? Why are democratic governments against it?
Public relations sector has enjoyed a phenomenal growth and plays an important role in knowledge management in all sectors – private, public and civil society organization. An important aspect of strategic communication is to promote dialogue with different publics. We’ll discuss the trends and challenges in strategic communication which may include crises communication, public affairs, press relations, marketing communication, etc.
Patching, R. and Pearson, M. (2009). ‘Censorship Through Spin’ in Banerjee, I. & Muppidi, S. (Eds) Changing Media, Changing Societies, Singapore: AMIC.
Frith, K. & Chen, J. (2006). ‘Insights On The Education Needs Of Aspiring Advertising Professionals’ in Media Asia 33 (1 & 2).
Tutorial questions: Should government spend public money on spin? What are the dangers and advantages of managing information in this way? Is truth a casualty? Who benefits from Public Relations? How does it impact on the news media? What are the skills and knowledge required to work in this area?
Deeper Divides or Greater Equity?
International comparisons often show the great gulf between societies in terms of access to technology, education and income. These divides seem to be persistent and leading to inequalities between people within and between societies.
McMichael, P. (2008) ‘The Globalization Project in Practice’ in Development and Social Change, Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.
Hywel, W. (2009) In Our Time: The Speeches that shaped the Modern World (Anita Roddick), London: Quercus.
Tutorial questions: What are the characteristics of the digital divide? What are the other types of divides which reduce peoples’ ability to participate in the knowledge society? How could these divides be tackled? Is it important to tackle the divides or should we accept that inequality is a part of human life? Does the adoption of technologies change local cultures and societies? Why would some people find these conceptions to be alien? How could these ideas be improved?
Owning Knowledge Intellectual Property
Ownership of knowledge has become a crucial issue all over the world as international regimes gradually increase the range of property rights that can be expressed over information and knowledge. Indigenous knowledge has been marginalised or appropriated by modern capital. What are the interests that lie behind corporatisation of knowledge ownership?
Drahos, Peter with Braithwaite, John (2002). ‘The Knowledge Game’ in Information Feudalism. Who owns the knowledge economy, London: Earthscan Publications Ltd.
Laughlin, Robert (2009). Standing to reason, Sydney Morning Herald, January 17-18, p.6.
Tutorial questions: Have you ever copied a CD or computer game? Is it right for people to steal intellectual property? Should companies be allowed to exclusively own knowledge and be able to control its use? Does this help or hinder the progress of human life and society?
Transitioning from here – further study? employment?
Castells, Manuel (2000) ‘Conclusion’ in The Rise of Network Society, 2nd Edition, Oxford:Blackwell Publishers.
Himanen, Pekka (2004) Challenges of the Global Information Society at http://web.eduskunta.fi/dman/Document.phx?documentId=br11307103930385&cmd=download
Week 11-13 Group project and presentation