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Media-technology and the structural change of knowledge societies

: Paetau, M.

International Sociological Association -ISA-, Research Committee on Sociocybernetics:
7th International Conference of Sociocybernetics "Technology and Social Complexity" : Murcia, Spain, 18-23 June 2007
Madrid: ISA, 2007
15 pp.
International Conference of Sociocybernetics "Technology and Social Complexity" <7, 2007, Murcia>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAIS ()
knowledge society; media technology; knowledge production; societal transformation; knowledge formation; complexity

The paper takes the media-technology as an example to investigate the role of technology in so-called societal transformation-situations. That means highly complex historical situations in wich a society is partly changing its character so dramatically that observers later on will state that is no longer the same society that it used to be. Such structural changes of societies are very complex events, which are never attributed to single causes. Beside technology changes of many singular facts have preceded such structural caesuras as an effect to special circumstances, like poverty, lacks of democracy, requirements of the world market, economic growth or crisis, ownership structures etc.. In my paper I want to discuss the relevance of media technology for such societal breaks. My hypothesis is that any structural change of society with caesuras of political and economical power are obliged to social structure of knowledge and the way in which knowledge is handled. Or, inversely expressed: caesuras of the mode of knowledge will force a more or less significant overthrow of economic and political dominance. Insofar all societies are ``knowledge societies\\\'\\\' in the sense that any society has to emerge forms and techniques to proceed important decisions regulating its knowledge: Which knowledge should be kept, which can be deleted. And in which form this could be done? In a sociological discourse context - and anymore from a sociocybernetics point of view - it is not need to emphasise that society\\\'s decisions on storing and communication of knowledge are not made by society\\\'s own will. It emerges based on media-technology which is available, the current societal structure, and a lot of other variables which have to be described. The interdependency of these factors expresses the concrete complexity of a knowledge society.