In this broad-ranging analysis of the central role that knowledge plays in our life, Nico Stehr critically examines the premises of existing social theory and explores the knowledge relations in advanced societies. The result is a significant new synthesis of social theory.
The issues addressed in Knowledge Societies include: the process of scientization; the transformation of the political system by increasingly knowledgeable citizens; the rise of specific areas of expertise and changes in corresponding institutions based on the deployment of specialized knowledge; a shift in the nature of societal conflict from struggles about the allocation of income and property to claims and conflict about generalized human needs; and the emergence of fragility as a basic attribute of modern social organizations.
Stehr's argument amply demonstrates that all social theories now need to take account of the changing nature of social relations around knowledge, and it defines the parameters within which this analysis should take place.
Nico Stehr is Senior Research Fellow, Sustainable Development Research Institute, University of British Columbia, Canada
Introduction Knowledge and Social Action The Concept of Knowledge Societies Theories of Society The Constitution of Modern Societies The Design of Post-Industrial Societies Knowledge about Knowledge The Economic Structure of Knowledge Societies Experts, Counselors and Advisers The Technical State The Texture of Knowledge Societies Conclusion