about mode 2 knowledge paradigm

January 7, 2007

‘Mode 2’ Revisited: The New Production of Knowledge
Minerva 41: 179–194, 2003.

Some aspects from the book: Michael Gibbons, Camille Limoges, Helga Nowotny, Simon Schwartzman, Peter Scott, and Martin Trow, The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies (London: Sage, 1994).

Amazon commentary: Tapping a wide variety of sources, the authors provide a coherent picture of important new characteristics that, taken altogether, fundamentally challenge our traditional notions of what academic research is all about.

From book:

A new paradigm of knowledge production (‘Mode 2’), is socially distributed, application-oriented, trans-disciplinary, and subject to multiple accountabilities.

From:Knowledge Network by David Bloom and David Steven

Gibbons has captured what many knowledge workers are experiencing every day – the opportunities and risks, demands and rewards, rights and responsibilities are very different if you live in a world where Mode 2 dominates.

Nice appendix shows also the differences of knowledge production paradigms of 1 and 2.

I am rather liking this socially distributed aspect, especially because it is contrasting the journal publishing with this other kind of distributed knowledge-generation that many research people alternatively do in blogs. The idea here is a bit different, how to indicate social authorship…and how we exploit it.

socially distributed knowledge

Mode 2’ (or socially distributed knowledge), is the idea that cannot be authoritatively encoded in traditional forms of scholarly publication.‘Mode 2’ is not only a concept, inherently open to manipulation or exploitation by others (even in ways of which we may disapprove); it is also a project, an example of the social distribution of knowledge, which it seeks to describe.
“The diffusion of results is initially accomplished in the process of their production” – i.e. communication is part of the process, not an end point.
“Exploitation of knowledge relies on participation in its generation.”

When reading the other important book about knowledge by Bereiter (2002), i came to the similar paradigm change ideas what i briefly reflected earlier in this blog.

The idea what i had is a little bit different: we shift from self-directed knowledge construction to the community-directed knowledge construction because when we want to exploit this distributed knowledge we also should develop this knowledge in some extent, be part of the discourse adn not only the receivers.

application oriented

‘Mode 2’ knowledge is embodied in the expertise of individual researchers and research teams as much as, or possibly more than, it is encoded in conventional research products such as journal articles or patents.

subject to multiple accountabilities

research communities now have open frontiers – which has allowed many new kinds of ‘knowledge’ organizations, such as think-tanks, management consultants, and activist groups, to join the research game. Mode 2’ knowledge is highly reflexive. The research process has become a dialogic process, an intense (and perhaps endless) ‘conversation’ between research actors and research subjects – to such an extent that the basic vocabulary of research (who, whom, what, how) is in danger of losing its significance. As a result, traditional notions of ‘accountability’ have had to be radically revised. In ‘Mode 2’ knowledge, scientific ‘peers’ can no longer be reliably identified, because there is no longer a stable taxonomy of codified disciplines from which ‘peers’ can be drawn. Clear and
unchallengable criteria, by which to determine quality, may no longer be available. Instead, we must learn to live with multiple definitions of quality.


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