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Futures of knowledge societies – destabilization in whose interest?

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This paper asks whether destabilizations associated with the global financial crisis and rapid innovation in digital technologies may be creating possibilities for a rebalancing of commercial market and other values associated with equality and fairness in policy interventions aimed at building knowledge societies. An analysis of high-level policy speeches and a selection of digital technology projects provides a basis for reflections on this question. The paper considers whether recent destabilizations are encouraging challenges to the discourses and practices associated with market-led technology diffusion models. The analysis indicates that there are some shifts in the discourses, but there is less evidence of shifts in practice. It is suggested that greater attention to the complex features of the innovation process may help to foster stakeholder learning in a way that might favour values consistent with inclusive and equitable knowledge societies.
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Keywords: Millennium Development Goals; WSIS; commercial online services; diffusion; information society; innovation; knowledge society; learning; open development

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, UK

Publication date: June 3, 2015

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