CSCS provides affiliation to Indian and international researchers for varying periods of time. In addition CSCS also invites academics to interact with faculty and students and to present their work at the Centre.
List of conferences and workshops held at and conducted by CSCS in recent years.
Current State: Published
Course 1001: The Knowledge Society: Limits and Possibilities
Course instructors: CSCS faculty, anchored by Dr. Kakarala Sitharamam
The course will be taught as a seminar course involving the participation of both faculty and students at CSCS. The objective is to explore an emerging area of inquiry and engagement which is of direct concern to higher education in India and the world at large. CSCS believes that the exploration would enable present-day and future researchers to situate their questions about culture and society in relation to changing institutional scenarios of knowledge production. To this end, we will read closely a range of texts, including policy reports, critical writings, historical scholarship, fiction and documentary film. Students will be encouraged to take active part in assembling the texts and supplementary material.
The idea of knowledge society gained currency in recent debates over a variety of themes including Science and Technology studies, higher education, development studies, environmental studies, information and communication technologies, and social theory. The vantage points of engagement vary widely, ranging from fundamental concerns of epistemology and methodologies of understanding of ‘change’ or social transformation of processes and conceptual categories, to a more applied or translational concerns of ‘development strategies’ or social action politics.
Of course, all these debates have accumulated over a long period, one that has concerned itself with the changing nature of capitalism (leading to its current formation into varieties of neoliberalism), the changing nature of the enterprise of research (especially scientific research and its impact on the continuity of ‘public science’), the advances in social theory both as methodology and as substantive concern of the sociology of knowledge. As is well known by now, the basic impetus to these debates in a way provided by developments in information and communication technologies and more recently developments in bio research. Over the last decade, since the multi-volume work of Castells on Information Society in the last 1990s, a variety of theoretical concerns emerged around understanding the nature and potential of these changes.
A basic question may be asked against this backdrop: is the idea of a 'knowledge society' in any way fundamentally different from its predecessors (such as technological society,information society, network society, etc.)? What would be the key components of such a society,? assuming that it indeed marks such a fundamental paradigm shift. How have the advancements in social theory helped us understand better these significant changes? What implications do they have in shaping our understanding about social transformation? How do many concerns of justice that remain unresolved in the earlier contexts of capitalist development re-emerge in the knowledge society? These and many other questions need close and critical scrutiny in order to move towards understanding the idea of knowledge societies.
The proposed course intends to explore these and related questions primarily through four vantage points: the context and sources of the current debates, debates on learning, both as an epistemic concern as well as the spaces of learning processes, debates on knowledge economy and the emerging concerns of’ justice’ in knowledge societies.
Week 1 (August 9): Introduction to the course
Week 2 (August 16): Key issues in theorizing the knowledge society
A Vision, A Dream, or A Possibility? Contextualising the Knowledge Society Debate
The discussion will aim to bring together some trajectories that contributed to the making of the knowledge society debates.
Ellul, J. (1964), The Technological Society (New York: Vintage Books).
Lyotard, Jean Francois, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984)
Manuel Castells (ed): The Network Society: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (Cheltenham: Edward lgar Publishing, 2004)
Tony Hey, Stewart Tansley and Kristin Tolle (ed): The Fourth Paradigm: Data Intensive Scientific Discovery (Washington: Microsoft Research Centre, 2009) (link found here)
Taking European Knowledge Society Seriously, Report of the Expert Group on Science and Governance to the Science, Economy and Society Directorate, Directorate-General for Research, European Commission (2007) (link found here)
What the Knowledge Society could do. Imaging the Impact
This session will bring together debates on how knowledge society idea has impacted the debates concerning various processes of interventions, policy oriented as well as strategic.
UNESCO declaration on the Use of Scientific Knowledge 1999
World Bank, Constructing Knowledge Societies, 2002
William Dutton, Social Transformation in Knowledge Society, 2004
Craig Johnson, Knowledge for Social Change, 2009
Week Six ((September 13) : Law, Knowledge and Social Justice