KCTOS: Knowledge, Creativity and Transformations of Societies
|Herbert Arlt (INST, Vienna)||
Deutsch | English
It is generally acknowledged that research will or should play a key role as a special form of knowledge production for the future development of societies. What has been discovered now is that culture must play a central role in all future developments (a basic thesis of the INST- research since the 90s).
As far as the social importance of research is concerned, one only needs to point to the resolutions of the European Union in Lisbon (1) or to the UNESCO-document „Towards Knowledge Societies“ (2) The inaugural speeches at the KCTOS-conference of Federal Chancellor Gusenbauer and EU-Commissioner Figel’*, the greetings sent by the President of the EU-Commission, Barroso, the General Director of the UNESCO, Matsuura, the General Director of the Council of Europe, Battaini-Dragoni; and the INST-President from Africa, Peter Horn, (3) underlined the new importance of knowledge and its production. New elements, too – such as the social importance of cultures for future developments – are emphasized programmatically.
At the same time the KCTOS-Conference – as its predecessors – is not only an agora, but part of research project of a new type. In the framework of this research project a multitude of analyses, proposals and blueprints were developed, in which social context research, arts, knowledge productions can or should develop. (4) In the centre of the research project we find the importance of languages, literatures, arts, sciences, research as part of a social development, which is based on „inclusiveness“ with its humanist, but also its far reaching economic importance. (5)
These concepts of the KCTOS-conference differ fundamentally from traditional concepts in their openness, transdisciplinarity, preparedness to enter a polylogue. Some of these traditional concepts about governance of regions, states and transnational structures (whether in new or old clothing) want to limit potential freedoms, which research has been able to acquire since the Middle Ages. Just as in the past territories were occupied, there is an attempt to „occupy“ knowledge by firms, state administrations of differing political directions and even by science and research institutions. In the attempt of applying such concepts, which are based on old and failed structures, unfortunately the insight that the exclusion of others (mostly a third or even the majority of the population) does not lead to an increase in the wealth of a society but to an escalation of poverty, is not considered. Unfortunately one does not point out often enough, which destructive consequences arise out of forcing through tribal concepts, (feudal, national or social) wars of cultures, or the work of so-called selectors. Rather these old concepts shine in a new linguistic dress in an apparently new light.
In my contribution the production of knowledge in its specificity is in the centre; especially research – its social context, the real meaning of the freedoms of access to knowledge or knowledge production, the exchange of knowledge, the concept “knowledge society” as well as the conditions needed so that the possibilities of a knowledge society can be used.
Here I refer to the fundamental concern of the KCTOS-Conference: the importance of the open forums, the regional and transnational polylogue, the creativity, the cooperation in the context of a realism in the observation and assessment of the communication structures, the economic course of events, the social processes.
In general the concepts of the KCTOS-Conference are located in a long tradition of the specific location of research in societies on the one hand, whereby the highest research productivity is made possible by its freedom, and on the other hand the concepts refer to the new ways to bring about knowledge production by using the possibilities which in principle are offered by the emerging knowledge societies to all of us, but which can not be used by all in the same manner. In this context the concentration on languages, literatures, arts and diverse forms of knowledge productions is characteristic.
1. Knowledge Productions and Social Developments
If we use the concept „knowledge productions“, then this usage is in contrast to the use of such concepts as science, research etc., in so far as these concepts refer only to institutions. Nevertheless the use of the concepts science and research makes sense, so as to emphasize the specifics of these activities. At the same time, however, science and research are only parts of a wider complex process in the middle of a social upheaval, where it is not only about a concept and its etymology (e.g. that of a “knowledge society”), not only about concepts, structures and theories, but also about a contradictory development, for which the contemporaneousness of the non-contemporaneous (6) is equally important as the identity of the non-identity (7) or completely new forms of creating value, which are not bound to institutions, but which arise from specific forms of working. (8) This specificity needs to be analyzed in contrast to prior developments and in the context of new social developments, which are summarized here under the concept of „knowledge societies” in the sense used by UNESCO.
1.1. The Analyses of the UNESCO
In this context of defining the specificity of new developments of societies the UNESCO-document „Towards Knowledge Societies“ opens with the question: “Does the aim of building knowledge societies make any sense when history and anthropology teach us that since ancient times, all societies have probably been, each in their own way, knowledge societies?”(9)
The basic interest of this important UNESCO-Document is formulated by general director Matsuura in his introduction as follows: „To remain human and livable, knowledge societies will have to be societies of shared knowledge. The plural here sanctions the need of an accepted diversity. The time seems ripe to take up this matter afresh, since the burgeoning of a number of studies on the new status of knowledge and the growing reflection of these questions in development initiatives now afford the necessary detachment for an initial assessment and the drawing of conclusions such as to prompt a wealth of proposals in this field – all of which fully justifies the title and the lines of emphasis in this report” (10)
Therefore the basic idea about the knowledge society in this UNESCO-Document is not bound to a specific concept of society. Its nucleus is about shared knowledge, plurality, the public, and thus about knowledge productions under new conditions. The old conditions – not only those of the past, but those of the present as well – are sketched as follows: „Today, as in the past, the control of knowledge can go hand in hand with serious inequality, exclusion and social conflict. Knowledge was long the exclusive domain of tight circles of wise men and the initiated few. Secrecy was the organizing principle behind these exclusive knowledge societies. In the age of Enlightenment, the demand for democracy, the concept of openness and the gradual emergence of a public forum for knowledge, fostered the spread of the ideas of universality, liberty and equality. The diffusion of knowledge through books and the printing press, as well as the extension of an education for all through schools and universities, accompanied this historical development.” (11)
Essential characteristics of knowledge societies therefore are not only another form of knowledge, another form of knowledge production, but above all other forms of access to knowledge. This is a development which is not self-evident: „The ideal of a public knowledge forum, which is the basis of UNESCO and its Constitution, cannot be taken for granted.“(12)
In this context one can see a delimitation from other concepts which are less complex in their structure: „The idea of the information society is based on technological breakthroughs. The concept of knowledge societies encompasses much broader social, ethical and political dimensions. There is a multitude of such dimensions which rules out the idea of any single, ready-made model, for such a model would not take sufficient account of cultural and linguistic diversity, vital if individuals are to feel at home in a changing world.”(13)
It is for the UNESCO not a question of a blueprint of a definite social model, but of the basic elements which constitute a knowledge society. In the centre there is the open access to knowledge, which is postulated in the tradition of the Enlightenment: „Moreover, since the ‘information age’ knowledge societies differ from older knowledge societies because of the focus on human rights and the inclusive participatory character they inherited from the Enlightenment, the importance of basic rights [...].” (14)
1.2. The Specifics of Knowledge Production
In today’s TV-Shows on the topic „knowledge“, knowledge seems to be the ability to re-cognize. Education is in this understanding the transfer of data, information and is separated from activities like recognizing, thinking, conceptualizing, telling a story.
Knowledge of such a nature transfers an ability learned by rote essentially to reproduce word material. Such knowledge is the precondition to assimilate into agrarian and industrial processes. Such knowledge has only limited value if one wants to become part of a society whose knowledge changes very rapidly and often in a radical manner. To be able to acquire this knowledge one needs other abilities than the mere reproduction of data or information.
1.3. The Revolution of Knowledge
If we assume that the history of humankind is several million years old, then we can say that there was a constant development of knowledge during these millions of years: dealing with water, food, their storage, fire, weapons etc.
The radical change, the revolution of knowledge started with languages, writing. Only these allowed a new access to the world, so that not everything which was interesting needed to be traveled to, but by means of languages and writings world could be recognized in a new way.
They also made possible new forms of criticism, since an object, an assertion could be fixed and thus subjected to another form of examination.
The revolution of knowledge therefore is not only concerned directly with fixing, distribution, access, but directly also with handling knowledge. Thus in knowledge societies it will not only be important to have access to knowledge, but above all to be able to interpret, to analyze, to think, to evaluate, to develop concepts. This is in radical difference from those tendencies which want to increase the amount of information transferred at schools and universities (and this in a time of a so-called „information flooding“), but do not convey the real elements of the knowledge revolution in a socially wide-ranging manner – the activities of understanding, thinking, conceptualizing, telling, transfer – and reduce these abilities even in the centers of the knowledge production such as universities and research institutions.
The mere existence of languages, literatures is not decisive for the development, which is possible in a society. A central question is, how we are dealing with languages, literatures, arts, sciences, research, what kind of framework they get, not only financially, but organizationally, which freedoms they are allowed to have.
2. Social Communication and Knowledge Production
Communication, and above all the constantly new media which are available for communication, find themselves since the 60s in the center of thoughts about new social developments. (15) This is also expressed in the development of special disciplines, institutes, research institutes.
According to the traditional and more recent insights there are a series of different forms of communication, which have quite different functions in the structures of societies. Especially in today’s societies the theory of efficient communication is based essentially on a metaphysics of money.
2.1. Gold, Money, Stock Exchange
Undoubtedly gold and money are important means of communication and stock exchanges are powerful machines in the context of the development of the economy. Even in the GDR there existed in Leipzig an Exchange for Industrial Raw Materials, so as to keep the costs of the industrial production low.
However, since the very earliest writings gold – and later money – is seen in connection with the world of illusions, of metaphysics – by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Goethe, Jura Soyfer.(16)
Let us take an example from today: the demand for shares is increased by investing pension funds, the share prices increase – until the shares adjust again to the real position of the economic development (and thus to a devaluation of the pension funds). The artificial demand lead and leads to a social catastrophe. Little insight was won.
Further more, no knowledge is produced by gold or money as such. Frameworks can be created by it, knowledge can be traded. But who would consider the stock exchange as a place of knowledge production? (Rather as a place where knowledge is really needed – but between the demand and the production there is an essential difference. And the method – speculation – is hardly regarded in any other area as a serious form of dealing with knowledge.)
Nevertheless there are ideological streams which see the knowledge of the world concentrated in the stock exchanges, which are really only reproductive, as they only return in a speculative way, whatever information is traded. Innovation does not originate from stock exchanges, they only trade with it.
The (negative) results of such a speculative-reductionist world view can be observed now and many have to suffer under them. They have led to massive failures in infrastructures, health, environment, social development – and to massive polarizations and arguments.
2.2. Public Communication
Another (social) communication is made possible partially by theatre, film, the arts, schools, universities, museums, media etc. The true change in structures has to be one from a reproducing society to a knowledge society, something which is often not conceptualized and considered. In the center of discussions we find as before the reproduction of knowledge and not the demands of a society which in everyday life and production processes need a unique access to knowledge. (17)
In the context of the change towards knowledge societies one can observe a multitude of tendencies. Everywhere – in Europe, too, and in the USA – it is in the first place a question of literacy. And here the interest, the motivation, can be reached first of all by means of participation. This is a central basic idea for the total process of the development of the knowledge society – to empower people to participate. Only in this way can that kind of „inclusion“ function be brought about, which UNESCO wants to achieve.
Beyond this it is a question of access and of dealing with knowledge. Here functional illiteracy is a central stumbling block, on the other hand the non-perception by public institutions of creating the possibility of participation.
2.3. Media, Internet
With book printing, newspapers, journals, radio, TV, videos, internet ever new media were developed to distribute knowledge. The media are not always used for this purpose, often they are used to manipulate and to deceive. But they are central elements of an openness which can bring about one thing in particular – speed up the participation and in this way create the decisive basis for the wealth of a society, as Federal Chancellor Gusenbauer has emphasized repeatedly in his speech at the KCTOS-Conference. (18)
2.4. New Knowledge Productions
The new importance of knowledge is not arbitrary. It is not merely a question of communication, information, of quantity. Rather, there is a close connection between recognizing, thinking, telling, conceptualizing and enacting. These processes are speeded up in the mass, but mostly if these processes run within certain structures.
The essential structural elements, which increase productivity, are openness, accessibility, participation, but also creativity. Therefore today’s potential knowledge society is distinguished – e. g. from that of the Middle Ages – not only by human rights, democracy etc. but above all by its forms of production (in the Middle Ages these were agriculture and the artisans etc. – in the knowledge society of the 3rd millennium these are education, services, arts, sciences, research, but also new, knowledge-based forms of the agrarian and industrial productions).
2.5. Representations in numbers
Numbers have moved into the centre of representations of social processes. But numbers can only portray part of the processes which determine social developments. Most of the time it is the consequent effects of new forms of production which can be grasped in this form of representation (statistics etc.) But it is essential to understand the new social forms from their principles, from their structures. For without analyses in these areas – which are mostly still outstanding – one cannot collect those data which are relevant for a representation in numbers. In this context one needs to ask about a new form of value production, which comes about, if innovation does not essentially occur in the area of agrarian or industrial production, but moves –as it happens in the knowledge society – into the area of the everyday life. And well on a level, in whose frame numbers are no longer expressed as many operations of 0 and 1, but when programming already means the use of clusters, so that e.g. a number needs to be entered only from the keyboard.
These „clusters“ are not only important in programming of computers and other technologies; they have become a basic component of society and its everyday life. Its archives, its catalysts are the cultures. And it is because of that that cultures can be decisive engines of social development.
Expressed differently: It is not only important, that a growing mass of people are earning their money by cultural activities. Decisive are rather the new forms of production, which have arisen or are arising and which permeate all area in different ways: the old forms of production by means of innovations for reproductions, the new forms as innovations which can stand alone.
Not very helpful in this respect is the transfer of other models. In this context the concept „cultural industries“ is misleading, as it neither mirrors a real structure of the activities nor of the form of organisation. In this concept the new appears in old clothing.
3. The Importance of Creativity
It is only from the changes of social productions in their importance for the population that we can measure the importance of creativity. It is not restricted to a small group of people who are engaged in “creative jobs”. Creativity is, rather, necessary in all areas of work, which are not merely reproductive such as the work at a machine.
EU-Commissioner Figel’ formulates in his conference contribution: „Therefore one could envisage a European Creativity and Innovation Area as a next analog field. It could be a metaphor for a new understanding of culture within the European Union. The main elements of such a European Creativity and Innovation Area should be the understanding, that culture is catalyst of creativity, that cultural diversity and multilingualism are the basis of wealth.“ (19)
Here the importance of culture as a strategic element for the development of the European Union is expressed not only as a factor, whose meaning is rendered in the traditional way (employment, sales figures) but in a new way, insofar as diversity and culture are not understood as causes of obstruction for social productivity, but rather as its very basis. This understanding is part of a new strategy: „Only last May, we issued the first ever policy paper devoted to a new European agenda for culture in the time of globalization. I will not discuss the text in detail, but I would like to put it in context. From the start of the Barroso Commission, it was clear that culture would get a higher priority in the political agenda of the EU. People today accept realities like the internal market, Schengen, the single currency – the Euro. But they discuss more than ever non-tangible issues like values, identity, cultures, and qualifications.”(20)
Here one needs to distinguish essentially between creativity for reproduction or creativity as a new social phenomenon in the context of new forms of work, which are practiced not only for or by a small circle. Creativity is part of the opening of society as it has developed more and more a mass character since the time of the Enlightenment. And it is precisely this which is expressed in the speech or the conception of EU-Commissioner Figel’ and the EU-Commission.
4. The Proclaimed Freedom of the Production of Knowledge
All along science, research, the arts have fought for their freedom. But only during the revolutions and as a consequence of them, these freedoms were written into constitutions. Because of this – theoretically - an interesting constellation is created. Not only are the powers of the state separated, but also knowledge production – or at least parts of it – is given a special place in society.
This proclaimed freedom of knowledge production exists for good reasons. Only if this freedom is given, can corresponding results be achieved. Research – to take but one example of knowledge production – which submits to a power, will hardly be able to achieve relevant results (except in those parts which are free and subjected to the power). Real power is characterized in that it can accept research as free partner, because only the ability to transform society which is based on realism will ensure survival.
To limit this freedom of research and knowledge production means to limit its results. These restrictions are today represented by the inner hierarchies of the traditional places of knowledge production, the lack of openness, the censorship offices which merely administrate moneys instead of creating a framework for free work.
Additionally one has to deal with new economic constraints by means of pre-financing, private safeguards (which threaten one’s very existence) of public contracts, refusal to pay for work done etc.
Especially the European Union should realize another model, which departs from the premise that knowledge producers do indeed have excellent abilities and that it makes no sense if laymen restrict experts by preconditions (as long as these are not necessary for ethical reasons). What we should create are new framing conditions, which guarantee the freedom and flexibility of knowledge production. One can observe processes in this direction towards a freedom of knowledge production in the European Union, which overcome the uncertainties towards the new processes and which institute new measures for new processes instead of the reproduction of old patterns. Innovation and creativity are here, too, the key concepts for a future development.
5. The Desired Freedom of Knowledge Interchange
In his greeting for the KCTOS-Conference the President of the EU-Commission, Barroso, emphasizes the freedom of knowledge transfer as one of the most important strategic elements for the development of the European Union: „But to attain global leadership in the age of knowledge, it is imperative that we not only ensure the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital, but also a "fifth" fundamental freedom, this is the free movement of knowledge. We need a 21st century system for intellectual property rights, a system that strikes the right balance. It must reward innovation and strengthen the confidence of innovators in the digital age. But it must also remain open enough to encourage the transfer of knowledge and innovation.“ (21)
This „free movement of knowledge“, which has already been identified as a central element of development in the UNESCO-document – but also with respect to the new form of knowledge production – requires its own form of freedom. And this freedom is above all a freedom of access, without which a promotion of the transfer of knowledge and innovation – such as envisaged by Barroso – is impossible. This freedom can only be made possible and realized by education in the new sense, by general participation, by new forms of designing. For without education insight is not possible. Without participation or co-designing the motivation for education is not present or only partially so.
This definition of the meaning of „free movement of knowledge“ therefore is of essential importance and is the central element of the knowledge society – next to the use of the newest technologies for communication. On the other hand the limitation of measures which merely demand a „free market“ is not really useful in meeting the complex demands. Thus the document „Creating an Innovative Europe“ of January 2006, which is quoted by the Austrian Ministry of Science as one of the key documents of the Lisbon-Process, states: “At the core of our recommendations is the need for Europe to provide an innovation-friendly market for its businesses, the lack of which is the main barrier to invest in research and innovation. This needs actions on regulation, standards, public procurement, intellectual property and fostering a culture which celebrates innovation.”(22)
Especially in this context one would first of all have to clarify the character of the productions in a knowledge society, instead of emphasizing usage as central. Because: that which has not been produced cannot be marketed. And here one needs to refer to the fact that Barroso in his greeting to the KCTOS-Conference emphasizes, as does the UNESCO, that it is about open access to knowledge and that this open access is a key element in the context of the definition of the fifth freedom. On the other hand the “occupation” of knowledge means exclusion. And this exclusion is at the same time the problem which weighs heavily on the budgets of the European Union, in so far as gigantic social expenditure becomes necessary, and on the other hand the income of those are missing, who cannot take part in the development of the European Union.
6. About the Concept „Knowledge Society“
In the context of the concept „knowledge society“ one needs to consider both an academic and a social side. In the context of the concept „knowledge society“ in academic and social developments one can find a short summary in the UNESCO-document „Towards Knowledge Societies“: „The term ‘knowledge society’, which the academic Peter Drucker used for the first time in 1969, came into its own in the 1990s, in particular with the detailed studies of researchers such as Robin Mansell and Nico Stehr. As we shall see, the idea emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, at about the same time as the notion of ‘learning societies’ and lifelong education for all, which is surely not a coincidence. UNESCO played its part, if modest, in this change, as is exemplified by the publication of the report of the International Commission on the Development of Education, Learning to Be (Faure et al., 1972). In addition, the idea of the knowledge society is inseparable from studies on the information society, whose premises appeared with the growth of cybernetics. From the 1960s to the publication of Manuel Castells ‘information age’ trilogy in the late 1990s, the notion of information society in a way summed up the changes and trends that the earliest trailblazers described or foresaw – technology’s penetration of the power structure, the new economy based on scientific knowledge, changes in the workplace, etc.”
In this context one could observe in the last decades new conceptualizations of diverse social groupings and state institutions for schools, universities, research. The trend follows industrial production in this context, which however represents essentially the reproduction of innovation as its basic structure, which has unfavorable effects on the productions of knowledge, but follows the general trend, where the new shows itself in the dress of the old.
In contrast to this Federal Chancellor Gusenbauer in his contribution to the KCTOS-Conference departs from an entirely different concept: „My interpretation of the knowledge society is not limited to the kind of production, which changes by the use of knowledge, but my interpretation of the concept ‘knowledge society’ attempts, on the basis of the new possibilities, to create the preconditions, which offer qualitatively new individual and social possibilities on the broad basis of participation.“(23)
This is the beginning of a modern politics of creating possibilities, which take into account the high degree of social division of work and especially the realities of a knowledge society, which is evolving.
With regard to this development there are many discussions. Especially in the European Union the knowledge society is a central topic. The search engine at the site of the Commision shows, as queried on 24.1.2008 (disregarding the legal documents), 327696 documents. In Euro-Lex – the information system about the legal development of the European Union – one finds 466 hits which reflect the importance of this concept for the European Union. As can be shown, the concept knowledge society is connected with quite diverse strategies – not only in the sense of openness, but in the sense of social contradictions, out of which knowledge societies develop in the European Union.
Important in this process is, however, not an exact definition, which could only have the meaning of a delimitation and which will eventually make sense in a historical perspective, but answers for the questions about the essential elements and the changes (transformations) from and towards knowledge societies as they are attempted here in a fragmentary way. Only this method of an open access promises an approach to the processes which can be observed today.
7. The Importance of Administration in Knowledge Societies
In the Austria of the 18th century the administration had a central function in the development of society. It was responsible for schools, journals and enlightenment. It was a “Thaw” which seemed to open new horizons and which has entered history in the concept “Josephinism”. Admittedly in the history of these more or less 250 years since the Josephinism until today the administration in Austria did not always have this progressive function. To promote the freedom of opinion by means of a commission on censorship was even in the 18th century a „progressive idea“, which allows us to study the contradictions of the Austrian enlightenment particularly well. In the years that followed this concept for shaping social processes was mostly reactionary (even today, even if in this way modern art and new forms of research are supported, and the censorship commission has another name). (24)
In the 21st century this reactionary stance of producing progress by authoritarian actions can be observed mainly with those representatives of (state and private) administrations worldwide, who e.g. as civil servants or administrative workers attempt to replace the productions of arts, sciences, research, politics with their own activities or at least attempt to define the preconditions.
The European Union has recognized these problems in the area of „business“ and has summarized first possibilities to address these problems in an „action program to reduce the costs of administration in the European Union“.(25) It can be shown in this document that in the first instance those are supported, who are involved in traditional forms of production. These measures to reduce administration do not, however, as yet refer to knowledge productions, which are confronted with this problem in a specific way. One cannot really talk about free access to knowledge or free production of knowledge.
It is important in this context to recognize the basic social importance of the administrations in their specific function in social processes – in their service function (as can be derived from the word administration). This non-observation of the realities of the social division of work, as it has developed since the enlightenment, which are not brought about by economical weakness but by a lack of presence of politics, but also the knowledge producers in the formation of the new societies, is a basic problem in this context. In contradistinction to economically weak states (like the Habsburg monarchy before the age of Josephinism) for which the progressive administration was a support and partly a motor for the developments, the European Union needs an open process in this area also, if the available potential is to be used.
An excellent example, to use the possibilities of the knowledge society is the blueprint of a European University as a networking of existing institutions – especially since a great number of excellent institutions do exist already. Something new can come about, not by bringing them together in a new building, but by new forms of exchange, of cooperation. Admittedly here, too, the freedom and free access are decisive – and not selection, restriction to partial areas of research.
8. Cultural Politics and Knowledge Societies
What is still missing in the context of developing a knowledge society is a transnational cultural politics – as it has been announced by EU-Commissioner Figel’, - a new understanding of central social institutions like schools, universities, theatres, film etc. in today’s social processes, a new understanding for the importance of languages, literatures and arts. With reference to this the agenda „European culture in the face of globalization“ of the European Commission, to which the EU-Commissioner Figel’ referred in his speech, states: “Culture must also be encouraged as a driver of creativity. Did you know, for instance, that the culture sector generates more wealth for Europe than its chemical industry? In 2003, an EU study revealed that this sector employed almost 6 million Europeans, over 3% of the bloc's population at the time. It also boosts the development of new information and communication technologies, stimulates tourism and helps regenerate underdeveloped or disadvantaged areas.” (26)
Here the question is not only to name a field of production such as agriculture, industry, fishing, but culture understood as the basic element of creativity (and thus of one of the central elements of the development of knowledge societies. Culture is thus seen as relevant to all social areas and not only understood as a specific area of work which has an enormous growth potential.
9. Non-Profit-Making Activities and Knowledge Society
In the context of the development of the knowledge societies one needs to pay attention to the danger that forms of organizations of firms and conglomerates are not transferred to all areas of societies. At the moment it is these structures above all, which one-sidedly serve as the basis for laws and funding etc. This is important in the context of the following aspects:
9.1. Non-profit work (work without pay) every year creates billions, which cannot even remotely be paid for from private or public purses. An adverse effect in this area is equal to an adverse effect of social investments, an improvement in the framework conditions makes possible „investments“ of another sort in the region of billions, which society cannot do without.
9.2. It doesn’t make sense to impede these own resources or this non-profit work by means of impositions which are sensible in a profit-oriented business – especially if they are supported in the context of tax-financing directly (subventions) or indirectly (education, infrastructure) – but not, if the own resources of not-for-profit societies already are an enrichment for society in the sense that these own resources already add something essential for the society.
9.3. Such complications are costs of administration, funding (Basel II), the transfer of interest costs to the project takers, the non-adherence to contracts, since own resources are often mixed in the context of financing. Here concepts are used in sponsorships which presuppose a balance sheet (instead of an income-expenses-account), a surcharge of profit. Because of this non-profit societies are disadvantaged in relation to business.(27)
9.4. It is not only socially unacceptable that project takers must advance money for their work and are even personally liable for this money in the context of a far reaching legal uncertainty, that they have to pay the interest and are thus deprived of part of their salary. Such conditions contradict any form of social justice.
9.5. It is equally unacceptable that the project takers have to pay for mistakes of the administration with own resources, work performed and even money. The amount of moneys misdirected in this context because of a lack of competence of the administrations is nearly a billion Euro. (28)
9.6. Pre-financing does not only produce inequality but also exclusion. This means that not only poorer organizations but also the organizations of poorer countries are discriminated against by these preconditions.
9.7. Pre-financing guarantees an intrusion of the administrations on the knowledge productions and are as such unconstitutional, as they are directed against the freedom of knowledge productions (especially: the arts, sciences, research). They also contradict every principle of the development of knowledge societies, whose basic elements have to be openness, plurality, democracy, if they want to be effective.
9.8. One needs to point out especially that the responsibility for optimizing services or administrations is always shifted onto the European Union, even if it is in no way responsible and if such a procedure means that laws are broken by regional administrations. The problem is that political differences between region and transnational politics, diverging financial interests are being settled at the expense of project takers.
9.9. One needs to correct therefore in this context the concepts of funding, but also the cooperation of the administrations of different levels and the working with funds. It does not serve any purpose, if moneys are sent back to Brussels at the expense of the project takers, because the responsible bureaucracy is not adequately qualified, and the preconditions are change retrospectively.
9.10. It is fundamentally problematical that contracts are cancelled especially in the European Union, because contracts are the basic building stones of the European Union and the cooperation.
Here, too, one needs to apply the principle of the freedom of knowledge communications. The restriction of this communication by one-sided models, metaphysical preconditions, authoritarian behavior, invention of laws, are not only doing damage to the region but also to the development of the European Union. Such restrictions result among others in the unemployment of qualified personnel (especially the unemployment of academics).
10. Networking , Democracy, Plurality
If in the centre of the development of knowledge societies there are open access, communication, exchange, cooperation, networking, but also languages, literatures, arts, then it is important to recognize that the decisive framework conditions for an optimal process are democracy and plurality. For in the context of the development of the knowledge society another essential principle is coming to the fore: the inability of the individual to use all knowledge as individuals. This, in view of the mass of knowledge, is theoretically impossible.
Especially in the context of the inability all structuralizations, which tend to prescribe programs for third parties in the production of knowledge, and which do accept in the same measure proposals of the knowledge producers, which they themselves have developed, show themselves to be unproductive (where it is not enough to collect proposals and derive a structure from them – decisive is the possibility of an open process, in which in the framework of decentralized infrastructure subventions especially in the field of social and cultural sciences the development and implementation of own concepts becomes possible to institutions which these have to present to the public).
Especially in the context of the necessary separation of work in the optimal development of innovations and creativity one can see the disadvantage of the transfer of structures, which are important and correct with cost intensive (natural science) mega projects, but which are misplaced in the area of the social, cultural and human sciences – and all such knowledge production which are not essentially determined by reproduction.
Here too, it is still the old world with its traditional production structures – which once revolutionized the world – which dominates and which obstructs the development of knowledge societies.
11. The Transformations
The transformations which can be observed impact on every day life much more strongly than on politics, administration, or the direction of the productions or the central institutions of the knowledge productions. Important trends of these transformations are urbanization, culturalization, creativity, lifelong learning, density of information, importance of knowledge for everyday life, access to knowledge (including forms of analysis and thinking).
Chapter 6 („Research revolution?“) and chapter 7 („Science, public and knowledge“) of the UNESCO-document „Towards Knowledge Societies“ in contrast mainly deal with certain directions in research (Technology, biology, nanotechnology etc.). (29) That, however, does in no way cover the potential, but is rather a degradation of research as part of a production, which in turn is again only a part of social reality or its wealth. The real possibilities of the new knowledge revolutions, which explicitly run through the entire document, remain unused, because central elements such as languages, arts, cultures as central elements of social developments have so far in practice remained outside the equation, although they are now recognized in their importance at least fundamentally.
Without a change in access to knowledge in a complex sense, which also includes a change in the institutions of today’s knowledge productions, all the technologies, the new sciences remain marginal phenomena, which will assert themselves only in a limited way in everyday life. Here one needs a central rethinking, which – like the UNESCO in its programmatic statements – puts human beings into the centre, and therefore emphasizes those forms of knowledge production which make it possible for human beings, to take part socially, to increase knowledge, to develop, and to realize insights (socially).
Transformation as a conceptual metaphor is therefore not directed in an appellative way to individuals at all. A transformation of reproductive societies to innovative societies is a process which concerns everybody and which is socially productive only, if, as far as possible, everybody is “included” in this process.(30)
An important impetus in this context comes for the UNESCO, the EU, but the researches, too, will have to find their way still. The KCTOS-conference understands itself as part of such a research contribution. Essential papers were given not only about the area of the framework of a human globalization, but also of the topics which ought to be researched. Production figures are only marginally useful in this process, but can be helpful to recognize new forms of knowledge production socially, where new forms of working an new topics are already present.
One cannot express in numbers language, interpretation, translation, thinking and conceptualizing processes, and other human processes of all kinds, which determine the interaction between human beings.
Languages, literatures, arts, sciences, research have found their own path in conflict for millennia to express these processes –in word creations, images, metaphors, philosophical theses and others. The conditions for these creations have changed, in so far as they have moved from the margin to the centre, but without making their own figure recognizable. It is precisely this recognizability which needs some work, if the question is one of transforming traditional societies into knowledge societies.
* This form of spelling Figel’ in the Slovakian language means that the preceding consonant – in this case the „l“ – has to be pronounced softer.
(1) A survey from the
perspective of the Austrian Ministry of Science: http://archiv.bmbwk.gv.at/europa/blp/lissabon_dokumente.xml.
See also : http://ec.europa.eu/growthandjobs/index_de.htm
(All queries for this contribution were done on 24.1.2008.).
(2) Towards Knowledge Societies. Im WWW: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001418/141843e.pdf (Quoted henceforth as: TKC + page.) Additionally: Monitoring the Development of the Information Society towards Knowledge Societies: http://www.unesco.org/cgi-bin/webworld/portal_observatory/cgi/page.cgi?d=1
The transition to a knowledge based society: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docgener/evaluation/evalsed/sourcebooks/themes_policy/boxes/knowledge_based_society_e_europe_en.htm. Knowledge Society Homepage: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/knowledge_society/index_en.htm. European Universities 2020: http://ec.europa.eu/research/conferences/2004/univ/results_en.html
(3) All contributions named were published in TRANS 17: http://www.inst.at/trans/17Nr/inhalt17_en.htm
(4) The contribution to this conference, which are peer reviewed in a two level review-procedure, will be in the net by September 2008. They are part of a new kind of research project, the results of which will be presented in autumn 2008 together with the documentation of the conference (Hardcover book + CD + DVD). The research project, which is based on the KCTOS-conference and of which the KCTOS-conference is an integral part, runs on several levels: conceptualization, collection, development of the individual aspects in the context of a transdisciplinary polylogue, synergy through reports and a thesis texts, in which the results will be presented in a compressed form..
(5) Cf. Also the results of EU-INST-Project „Virtuality and new knowledge structures“: http://www.inst.at/burei/CBand6.htm
(6) Contributions for this INST-conference in the WWW: http://www.inst.at/trans/14Nr/inhalt14.htm
(7) Cf.: Sprech- und Denkprozesse in kulturellen Kontexten. In: Polylogues I. WWW: http://www.vienna-thinktank.at/polylog1/polylog1_arlt.htm
(8) Cf: Arbeit und Kultur in einem transnationalen Europa. WWW: http://www.inst.at/trans/0Nr/arlt3.htm
(9) TKC, p. 17.
(10) Ibid., p. 5.
(11) Ibid., p. 17.
(14) Ibid., p. 18.
(15) Cf. About the current importance of media: Media Development: http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=4625&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
(16) Cf. The discussion about the topic „Angst und Veränderung“ [„Fear and Change“] in the context of the 5th Memmingen Talks. In: Jura Soyfer. Internationale Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. Wien 2007, Nr. 54, S. 12ff.
(17) Cf. The long time study of David Baker, which reaches the conclusion, „that a low ability to read is a relevant, life-shortening factor, which comes immediately after smoking.“ Der Standard, Wien, 28./29.7.2007.
(18) Published in TRANS 17: http://www.inst.at/trans/17Nr/inhalt17.htm
(19) Ebd: http://www.inst.at/trans/17Nr/figel.htm In Englisch wurde die bedeutende Rede zur KCTOS Konferenz auch auf der Homepage der EU-Kommission publiziert: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_barroso/figel/speeches/2007/speeches_en.htm
(21) Published in TRANS 17: http://www.inst.at/trans/17Nr/barroso.htm
(22) This reductionist approach is quoted on the internet under: http://eu2006.bmbwk.gv.at/downloads/forschung_lissabon.pdf
(23) Published in TRANS 17: http://www.inst.at/trans/17Nr/gusenbauer.htm
(24) Cf. About the relationship between social development, languages, literatures and administrations the trailblazing book: Leslie Bodi: Tauwetter in Wien. Zur Prosa der österreichischen Aufklärung 1781–1795. Frankfurt am Main 1977.
(25) In the WWW: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/de/com/2007/com2007_0023de01.pdf. In the attachment of this remarkable document one finds measures taken since the beginning of the European Union..
(26) In the WWW: http://ec.europa.eu/news/culture/070510_1_en.htm
(27)Already on 11 April 2007 the Standard on page 18 referred to this problem under the title „Falle für gemeinnützige Forschervereine“. To the knowledge of this author nothing has happened since. .
(28) The Standard of the 10th July 2007 published on page 15 a contribution under the title “More and more fraud in the EU”. Michael Moravec writes: „Altogether 1,15 Billion Euro was the volume of the financial irregularities and of fraud, which the anti-corruption administration of the EU uncovered in the last year. [...].“ That such figures are very misleading can be seen in the following passage in the same article: „The majority is made up of ‚irregularities’ such as the wrong use of EU-funds without intention of fraud.“ A false use, which in the structural funds are based on wring information of the responsible administration, or even the invention of laws, regulations. Here, harming the regions, but also the EU-development, we have essentially a development in the wrong direction, which needs to be corrected urgently in the new budget period.
(29) In the WWW: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001418/141843e.pdf
(30) This „inclusion“ also has an essential importance for the state finances. Those who are excluded are give rise to costs, people for whom participation is possible are contributing to the state finances and to society.
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