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Information, Power, and Democracy
Liberty is a Daughter of Knowledge

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107120754


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About the Authors
  • The link between liberty and knowledge is neither static nor simple. Until recently the mutual support between knowledge, science, democracy and emancipation was presupposed. Recently, however, the close relationship between democracy and knowledge has been viewed with skepticism. The growing societal reliance on specialized knowledge often appears to actually undermine democracy. Is it that we do not know enough, but that we know too much? What are the implications for the freedom of societies and their citizens? Does knowledge help or heed them in unraveling the complexity of new challenges? This book systematically explores the shifting dynamics of knowledge production and the implications for the conditions and practices of freedom. It considers the growth of knowledge about knowledge and the impact of an evolving media. It argues for a revised understanding of the societal role of knowledge and presents the concept of 'knowledge societies' as a major resource for liberty.

    • Proposes a new understanding of the relation between knowledge and liberty
    • Demystifies the connection between knowledge and power
    • Considers the social role of knowledge in modern societies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Reflecting deeply on the history, contemporary condition and future possibilities for the knowledge-democracy relationship, Nico Stehr has produced a most considered and original account. This book is both scholarly and provocative.' Alan Irwin, Copenhagen Business School

    'Nico Stehr has provided a characteristically subtle and comprehensive account of the role of knowledge in modern democratic societies - but one that goes against the grain of much academic opinion on the topic. Whereas many see the increasing political importance of scientific knowledge as pointing towards an anti-democratic technocracy, Stehr observes the opposite tendency: namely, that the increase in the production - but especially the distribution - of knowledge has the potential to empower the vast majority of people in unprecedented, as well as unexpected, ways.' Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, University of Warwick

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107120754
    • length: 418 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.76kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Coming to terms
    2. Accounts of the conditions for the possibility and resilience of liberty
    3. The economic order ensures (defeats) liberty
    4. Scientia est libertas
    5. The knowledge of the powerful
    6. The knowledge of the weak
    Knowledge and democracy: summary and conclusions.

  • Author

    Nico Stehr, Zeppelin University, Germany
    Nico Stehr is Karl Mannheim Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the European Center for Sustainability Research at Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany. His recent publications include Who Owns Knowledge: Knowledge and the Law (with Bernd Weiler, 2008), Knowledge and Democracy (2008), Society: Critical Concepts in Sociology (with Reiner Grundmann, 2008), Climate and Society (with Hans von Storch, 2010), Experts: The Knowledge and Power of Expertise (with Reiner Grundmann, 2011) and The Power of Scientific Knowledge: From Research to Public Policy (with Reiner Grundmann, 2012).

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