Monday, 27 April 2009

Intellectual property - an attempt to aggregate that which has disintegrated?

I’ve been thinking about the need for “intellectual property” policies rather than separate “patent” and copyright” etc policies, as perhaps reflecting a blurring of the roles of “inventor”, “author”, “composer”, “artist” and “practitioner” so that perhaps it was safer to cover the diverse and probably increasing possibilities of knowledge creation roles and outcomes as broad “intellectual property”. The blurring is probably a result of the blurring of the boundaries of knowledge itself…

This of course goes well with Gibbons et al Mode 2 and the following is a quote from the 1994 book, The New Production of Knowledge (p.83).

“There seems to be a paradox here. Just when the university has become a more powerful centripetal institution, the knowledge which is its chief commodity has become diffuse, opaque, incoherent, centrifugal. This has taken three forms. The first is the ceaseless subdivision of knowledge of greater scientific sophistication. Many of today’s most creative sub-disciplines have been formed by associating previously unconnected fragments of other disciplines. These new fields of enquiry tend to be volatile and parochial, both qualities which undermine the idea of a broader and coherent intellectual culture. The second is that ider definitions of knowledge have come to be accepted, partly because if the erosion of older ideas of academic respectability and partly because of the impact of new technologies…The third form of disintegration is the deliberately decentred diversity and incoherence associated with postmodernism.

…These forms are contradictory in their details. For example, the subdivision of science into expert fragments can be taken to represent the triumph of positivism; postmodernism can be taken to mark its death. But all three have had the common effect of making it almost impossible to talk sensibly about the wholeness of knowledge.”

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