Reports and responses very welcome: to the AHHE journal/blog – here and to

The Re:Enlightenment Exchange 5: Knowledge as a Public Good

Oslo, May 18-19 2015

In our explorations of the Enlightenment heritage in the 21st century we have so far primarily focused on the forms, genres, and institutions, by which knowledge is produced, assembled, and transmitted. For the fifth Re:Enlightenment Exchange, taking place in Oslo May 18-20 2015, we will move beyond the forms and frameworks  and consider the actual work that knowledge performs in the world – how old and new knowledge gives rise to events, actions, innovations, and transformations.  This social, political, and intellectual dynamics is summed up in the phrase “knowledge as a public good”, where “good” is to be understood as a force at work in society, as something that can be shared, accessed, and used by all those who take part in that society. Thus, knowledge in the Enlightenment tradition is not something that can be kept within institutional borders, stored and transmitted by specific symbolic forms and their guardians. On the contrary, all knowledge comes with a pragmatic or even political index, and is released on society to change the context or situation, in which it emerged.

In the 19th and 20th centuries knowledge assumed its role in the world by means of specific institutional frameworks, first and foremost the disciplines, according to which only specific kinds of knowledge, produced by specific methods, according to specific theories, by means of specific technologies, and communicated by specific media, in response to specific knowledge needs in society, was as accepted as such. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, these needs have changed, and so have the technologies, and even the methods and theories, although at a much slower rhythm. The disciplines, on the other hand, distributing truth, power and wealth to certain kinds of knowledge, and not to others, remain more or less intact.

ReX5 will consist of three events, taking place at three different venues in Oslo.



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