Understanding Knowledge as a Global Commons

Director's ActivitiesLeeds-Hurwitz, W. (2019). Commentary: Moving (slowly) toward understanding knowledge as a global commons. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 15. DOI: 10.1080/17447143.2019.1695806

My commentary article was invited as a response to “Power relations in global knowledge production: A cultural/critical approach” by Marton Demeter. Both articles are already available online, and will be in print within a few months. To give you the flavor of the article, let me quote the first and last paragraphs. If you then wish to read the entire commentary, 50 copies may be downloaded free using this link. If you are the 51st person or beyond and those copies are gone, you may send an email requesting a personal copy.

“Marton Demeter responds to the move to de-westernization . . . by asking whether the reality of practice in cultural discourse studies fits with the stated goal of acknowledging globalization by expanding what is accepted within academia (so that the US and Western Europe do not assume they will produce the research that scholars in other countries read, but instead that everyone will produce interesting work that everyone else will read). He examines journal publications, a central tool in the social construction of knowledge, looking in greatest detail at ‘diversities in editorial boards, diversities in science output and the network of collaboration’. He finds that editorial board diversity correlates with the home country of the authors (so that journals with mostly US/Western scholars on the editorial boards publish few articles by authors from other parts of the world, despite explicit statements taking this as a goal).”

. . .

“In sum, I do not argue with Demeter’s findings, and in fact wish he had been a bit more radical in his call for change. In addition to internationalizing editorial boards, authors, and research teams, I have suggested that we need to recognize and reward intercultural capital, expand international networks at all levels (including editors and peer reviewers specifically for journal publishing, but more broadly expanding international research collaborations), and consider how to use the available technology to ensure that knowledge will be free and accessible to all, calling on senior faculty and major universities to make the first move. I would summarize this set of options as moving towards a global knowledge commons, a phrase others have used, but which has not yet been widely adopted.”

Author: Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, the Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, manages this website.

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