Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/88300
Authors: 
Hornidge, Anna-Katharina
Year of Publication: 
2006
Series/Report no.: 
ZEF Working Paper Series 18
Abstract: 
In different countries, dominant definitions of knowledge and information prevail and structure politics, especially in the fields of research and development (R&D), education, arts and culture, and the media. In 1962, for example, Machlup described the country-specific understanding of knowledge in the United States by pointing to the 'idiosyncrasy in favour of the immediately practical and against the general theoretical' (1962: 202). Lane, in 1966, picked this up and concluded: 'The United States has been slow to recognise the importance of scientific knowledge'. Although, in some ways, science grows out of technology, it is often the other way around; even in technology the United States in the 19th Century tended to lag behind Europe' (1966: 652). The arena of who defines, which knowledge and information is produced, disseminated and stored, varies in each country. Yet, the level of pluralism or singularism in defining knowledge is generally related to the degree of democratic or authoritarian rule exercised by each country's government and enabled by its political system. Furthermore, the definition of knowledge is strongly influenced by the structural realities, i.e. political system, historical experiences, economic situation etc. in each country. Consequently, country-specific definitions of knowledge exist, each of which being a unique result of the structural realities and power interplay in the specific country. In order to shed further light on these hypotheses, this paper focuses on the definitions of knowledge and information prevalent in Germany and Singapore. I ask (a) which types of knowledge and information, together with their production and dissemination, are regarded as valuable and worthy of support and (b) in what way are these definitions of knowledge influenced by the structural realities of those countries. Due to a change in focus regarding the definitions of knowledge in both countries, the former highly differing knowledge definitions have recently become increasingly similar. This leads me to the third question underlying this paper (c): Do the dominant definitions of knowledge in Germany and Singapore converge and is this at all possible with regard to the countries' wide structural differences? The assessment is based on the state fundings for R&D, education and cultural activities (museums, libraries, etc.), as well as statements of interview partners.
Persistent Identifier of the first edition: 
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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