TRANS Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 17. Nr. Mai 2010

Sektion 7.9. Knowledge Production, Cultural Discourses, and Media
Sektionsleiter | Section Chair: Mark Rectanus (Iowa State University)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

Section report 7.9.

Knowledge Production, Cultural Discourses, and Media

Mark Rectanus (Iowa State University) [BIO]



This section examined shifts in the production of knowledge by exploring how cultural discourses shape knowledge production, how it is mediated through print and digital culture, and how knowledge is used, “acted out”, or “performed”.

Our discussions focused on two areas: 1) the historical intersections of knowledge production and cultural discourses related to the print media, in particular book publishing and literary magazines in the 20th and 21st century; 2) digital media, cultural discourses, youth culture, and the emergence of new knowledge communities in the 21st century.

With regard to the first area, some of the questions that were examined included: 1) the role of publishers, literary agents, and intellectuals in shaping academic discourses and in the production of knowledge; 2) public notions of authorship, intellectual property, and copyright; 3) the publisher/editor as entrepreneur. The discussion focused on the role of print culture in very different cultural contexts, e.g., in China, Germany, and North America (USA and Canada). The multiple functions of publishers, editors, and literary agents as mediators and “cultural entrepreneurs” was linked to the specific local contexts of culture as well notions of authorship, the market, and intellectual property. How are competing notions of authorship (e.g., from the perspective of editors, authors, publics) negotiated? In addition, how is the representation of literary discourses linked to markets and cultural politics, e.g. in China?   

The second dimension of our discussion focused on knowledge production, electronic media, and knowledge communities, including: 1) the role of social networking, expert knowledge, and youth culture; 2) how participation in knowledge production is being reframed in terms of process and problem-based learning e.g., through wikis; 3) the emergence of knowledge-based hybrid communities. Our discussions here were wide-ranging. Knowledge production in digital spaces is a contested territory. With respect to youth culture and universities, there is an increasing deterritorialization of learning, e.g., reflected in the shifting roles of libraries to centers for event culture and digital dissemination, rather than physical access to books. The virtualization of knowledge production and knowledge performance, is becoming increasingly visible, e.g., in projects such as Second Life which are being utilized by universities. Virtual projects at universities (including wikis and social software) provide an opportunity for heightened participation by students in the processes of learning and for the “scholarship of engagement”. University coursework which is based on student-centered learning models such as problem-based and process learning should more fully integrate diverse knowledge communities, e.g., experts, practitioners, and artists. However, it is also necessary to create critical framework(s) which can address the analysis, interpretation, and performance of knowledge. This dialectical moment, which negotiates theory and practice is a key one. The section also discussed how communities may function in multiple roles, including the notions of “communities of practice” (which create the tools for knowledge acquisition and development) and “communities of value” (which constitute shared ideas and goals). The role of multiple digital platforms (e.g., blogs and social networking sites) as “boundary objects” and “social platforms” play a pivotal role. Blogs, for example, are simultaneously self-referential and points of intersection for cultural discourses, i.e., on the boundaries or intersections of multiple communities. One of the key questions raised in this part of the section’s discussion was how virtual knowledge communities will be able to sustain themselves or how they will transform and shift their practices and values over time. This question is also of heightened importance for expert communities of knowledge production such as professional associations that are also redefining their identity within the landscape of knowledge production and how the future of professions will be shaped.

7.9. Knowledge Production, Cultural Discourses, and Media

Sektionsgruppen | Section Groups| Groupes de sections

TRANS   Inhalt | Table of Contents | Contenu  17 Nr.

For quotation purposes:
Mark Rectanus: Section report 7.9. Knowledge Production, Cultural Discourses, and Media - In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 17/2008. WWW:

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