Identifying a range of features associated with this new mode – reflexivity, transdisciplinarity, heterogeneity – the authors illustrate the connections between these features and the changing role of knowledge in social relations. While the main focus is on research and development in science and technology, the book outlines the changing dimensions of social scientific and humanities knowledge. The relations between the production of knowledge and its dissemination through education are also examined.
The New Production of Knowledge places science policy and scientific knowledge in its broader context within contemporary societies. It will be essential reading for all those concerned with the changing nature of knowledge, the social study of science, educational systems, and with the relations between R&D and social, economic and technological development.
Helga Nowotny shows how research can thrive on the cusp of uncertainty. Science continues to transform uncertainties into certainties but this certainty always remains provisional. Uncertainty is never completely static – it is constantly evolving. It encompasses geological timescales and, at the level of human experience, split-second changes as cells divide. It appears at unexpected moments, it shuns the straight line, takes the oblique route and sometimes the unexpected shortcut – such is the cunning of uncertainty. The more we acknowledge the cunning of uncertainty, the less threatened we feel by it. We accept that any scientific inquiry must produce results that are provisional and uncertai. This message is vital for politicians and policy makers: do not be tempted by small, short-term, controllable gains to the exclusion of uncertain, high-gain opportunities.
The Cunning of Uncertainty is a must-read for students and scholars in all disciplines, politicians, policy makers and anyone concerned with the fundamental role of knowledge and science in our societies today.