The mixed blessing of Mode 2 knowledge production

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT The notion of Mode 2 knowledge production (Gibbons et al. 1994, Nowotny et al. 2001) already has a remarkable history. It was launched fifteen years ago to capture the ongoing changes in the world of science, science policy and the knowledge economy at large. While it is not the only attempt to make sense of the change, it definitively is the most popular. Since its publication in 1994, ‘The New Production of Knowledge’ (Gibbons et al. 1994), which has coined the notions of Mode 1 and Mode 2, has received almost 1900 citations in scientific journals . It is a blessing that it has helped both scholars and policymakers to get a grip on the profound changes going on in contemporary science systems. But the concept of Mode 2 knowledge production also proved to be a mixed blessing by creating confusion and by conflating interrelated yet independent trends.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present transformation of the university system is conceptualized in terms of such terminologies as “Mode-2 knowledge production” and the “entrepreneurial university.” What is remarkable about these analyses is how closely they link the generally accepted requirement of more socially relevant knowledge to the commercialization of university research. This paper critically examines the Mode-1/Mode-2 distinction through a combination of philosophical and empirical analysis. It argues that, from the perspective of actual scientific practice, this Mode-1/Mode-2 distinction and the related transition thesis do not stand closer scrutiny. Theoretical “Mode-1” science shares “Mode-2” features in being also problem-oriented, interventive and transdisciplinary. On the other hand, the empirical case on language technology demonstrates that even in “Mode-2”-like research, undertaken in the “context of application,” scientists make a distinction between more difficult scientific problems and those that are considered more applied or commercial. Moreover, the case shows that the need to make such distinctions may even become more acute due to the compromises imposed by the commercialization of research.
    Science & Education 10/2013; · 0.72 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 4, 2014