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Can Universities Solve the Problem of Knowledge in Society withou Succumbing to the Knowledge Society?

April 8, 2014

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STEVE FULLER, Policy Futures in Education, Volume 1, Number 1, 2003 (http://www.wwwords.co.uk/pfie/content/pdfs/1/issue1_1.asp)

“Once knowledge has begun to be alienated from the knower, such that one needs to acquire something not already possessed, the content of what one needs to acquire is no longer salient in explaining how credentials confer expertise on people. This point is clear to those who seek university degrees mainly to get credit for knowledge they have already come to possess by virtue of job or other life experience. That alone makes ‘knowledge society’ an extremely misleading expression, since knowledge is usually defined in terms of its content, i.e. some more-or-less valid and reliable representation of reality, without which one could not function. But it would seem that the containers of knowledge are really what matter in the knowledge society, e.g. whether what is said comes from the mouth of a Harvard PhD or a high school drop-out. The validity and reliability of one’s knowledge may not substantially rise between the start and finish of an academic degree programme, but the likelihood that one’s knowledge will be recognised as possessing those qualities does. (However, the speech of a Harvard drop-out may carry authority, too, if there is sufficient capital backing and product delivery: witness Bill Gates.)”

[op. cit., pp.110-111]

(via @kshjensen)

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