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Knowledge Societies

Nico Stehr


Subject Sociology » Sociology of Knowledge

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Extract

The transformation of modern societies into knowledge societies continues to be based, as was the case for industrial society, on changes in the structure of the economies of advanced societies. Economic capital – or, more precisely, the source of economic growth and value-adding activities – increasingly relies on knowledge. The transformation of the structures of the modern economy by knowledge as a productive force constitutes the “material” basis and justification for designating advanced modern society as a knowledge society. The significance of knowledge grows in all spheres of life and in all social institutions of modern society. The historical emergence of knowledge societies represents not a revolutionary development, but rather a gradual process during which the defining characteristics of society change and new traits emerge. Until recently, modern society was conceived primarily in terms of property and labor. While the traditional attributes of labor and property certainly have not disappeared entirely, a new principle, “knowledge,” has been added which, to an extent, challenges as well as transforms property and labor as the constitutive mechanisms of society. Knowledge may be defined as a capacity for action . This definition indicates that implementation of knowledge is open, that it is dependent on or is embedded within the context of specific social, economic, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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