Buchreihen des INST

TRANS-Studien zur Veränderung der Welt


Institut zur Erforschung und Förderung österreichischer und internationaler Literaturprozesse


Volume 6

Virtualität und neue Wissensstrukturen
Virtuality and new Knowledge Structures
Virtualité et nouvelles structures du savoir

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften
Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
Innovations et reproductions dans les cultures et les sociétés


M With this publication (book, CD, DVD) we present the results of the project about virtuality and new knowledge structures, which attempts a transborder analysis of essential current social processes. The project that has been worked on from 2004 to 2006 and which will be presented in 2006/2007 in more than 40 countries, tries to be a contribution to the "globalisation with a human face" (UNESCO).

In the centre of the analysis are the transformation of the agrarian and industrial societies into knowledge societies. The point of departure and an essential addressee is Centrope, a linkup of regions in the centre of Europe. The partners were and are the INST as well as the West-Hungarian University in Gyõr (Apáczai Csere János Faculty). The context are the changes since 1989 as well as a "globalisation", which consists of virtualities and realities (among them - as "another globalisation" - the IRICS-Conference of the INST with 5.200 participants from more than 80 countries).

In 1945 already the UNESCO declared in its "Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organziation", that a fundamental importance is to be attributed to virtuality (the minds of men). In this volume representatives of international organisations, the President of the Republic of Austria as well as important representatives of Centrope unanimously emphasize that virtuality is the central element of current social development. In this context Director General Matsuura (UNESCO) emphasizes the problems which are related to globalisation, but also the important opportunities if it is designed integratively and realised for the benefit of all. Secretary General Davis (Council of Europe) emphasises in the context of changes the participation of all citizens. EU-Commissioner Figél underlines the importance of multilingualism. And President Fischer refers to the importance of the democratisation of the knowledge processes.

A central result of the project is the importance of languages (as a determining part of virtuality), the manner of their distribution (copies, book printing, mass media, internet etc. ) the modes of access (education, development of social institutions such as universities, museums, societies etc.), the new forms of (social) conception formation (e.g. public development of strategies for Vienna, Győr, Lower Austria) for the social development and importance of tourism as the globally biggest and most dynamic sector for the promotion of multilingualism and (cultural) regionality. The importance of languages for the knowledge revolutions of humanity therefore does not lie in the signs, rules etc. as such. They rather attain and overwhelming importance, in that they can be interpreted, that written propositions can be criticized and form the central basis for individual and social actions. Or to say it differently: the inability to use signs, languages, images etc. as the basis of actions, means a (far reaching) exclusion from society. In Centrope, too, functional illiteracy is the weightiest cause for the massive unemployment (next to social conflicts and wrong-headed development strategies). For many countries in the world functional illiteracy equals bitter poverty. And pushing back social criticism in this context is tantamount to a (relative) impoverishment of a society.

The INST has analysed the transformations, the qualitatively new importance of the virtualities in several projects: in the VUNW-project itself, which was supported by the EU (EFRE-Fonds), the magistrale department 27 (EU-strategy and economic development ) as well as the magistrale department 7 (responsible for science and research promotion); (see p. 19/20), within the framework of the IRICS-Project, which on the one hand served as input for VUNW (contributions to the conference which were analysed, creating a new form of synergy), on the other hand as a conference with 5.200 participants from more than 80 countries assembled for a polylogue in a plenary session and 66 working sections (organisation, promotion etc. see p. 21/22), and a small symposium in Reichenau an der Rax in December 2005, that discussed questions of the relationship of regional and transnational knowledge productions and which was made possible by the Niederösterreichische Landesregierung. Intermediate results of the VUNW-project were presented in papers and within an exposition in the framework of the IRICS-conference in Vienna and the conference in Reichenau an der Rax and have also been distributed on the WWW.

In the centre of the IRICS-conference were the central forms of the constitution of virtualities - innovations and virtualities. 84 section leaders had organised 66 working groups, collected and edited the texts, and hundreds have helped to make this polylogue and its documentation and evaluation possible. Short biographies of those taking part, as far as they were submitted, have been published on the internet: http://www.inst.at/deutsch/bio.htm

An essential part was the question of the possiblities of subjects in transnational processes. The INST as an open platform with thousands of participants served in experiments with forms of effect, but also in an exemplary way as an object of analysis of the possibilities and problems of knowledge production in the contexts of the rich scientific life of the city of Vienna (see also the science report of the city of Vienna 2005), the contribution of the sciences in Gyõr (as well in the area of the car manufacturers as in the area of the virtualities, which were important for the partner of the West-Hungarian University), but also in the Burgenland, in Niederösterreich, in Czechia and in Slovakia.

On the basis of the results, which are protrayed in this book in their complexity, but also presented on the internet, [www.inst.at/vunw] we are envisaging changes: in the polylogue with UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the EU, the national states, the regions (especially in the frame of the INST-conference "Knowledge, Creativity and Social Transformations" [www.inst.at/kctos] from 6th to 9th December 2007 in Vienna), in the framework of the Interreg IV (Centrope: Virtualities, knowledge societies, employment), but also with projects about mountains, agriculture and industry in the context of the developing knowledge societies.

What is still necessary is an improvement in the framework conditions, which have deteriorated drastically for the development of knowledge societies, - not least because of the increasing politics of war. The strategies, to push literature, language and interpretation subjects in the widest sense to the margins, or to revitalise the humanities in their old form (as in Germany), not to develop a transnational cultural politics or at best a marginalised one, to "steer" arts, sciences and research rather than to make them possible in all openness, are some of the basic misdirected decisions of the last years, but there are also new possibilities and frameworks which must be used.

                                  September 2006
                                  The INST-Board


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