Who’s Colonizing Who? The Knowledge Society Thesis and the Global Challenges in Higher Education


The two notions of “globalization” and “knowledge society” are often assumed to be relatively neutral descriptions of contemporary social and cultural developments, although they are embedded in discourses on power and domination. In this paper the argument is made that both these notions can be understood as expressions of an ideology of neo-colonialism and that they assume an ethnocentric or Eurocentric bias rather than being neutral descriptions of the “natural” unfolding of social and political changes. The thesis of the “knowledge society”, in particular, needs to be demythologized as a vehicle for the rebirth of nations and regions in the context of increasing global challenges. A critical perspective such as this is a desired complement to the otherwise glossy versions of the future of “knowledge work” and “creative work” based on a doctrine of “fundamentalism of education”. The critical understanding of contemporary regimes for knowledge, learning and education on the international scene provide a necessary counterpoint to the dominating political and educational discourses advocating the advent of “knowledge society”.

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Correspondence to Per-Anders Forstorp.

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Forstorp, PA. Who’s Colonizing Who? The Knowledge Society Thesis and the Global Challenges in Higher Education. Stud Philos Educ 27, 227–236 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-007-9072-0

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  • Knowledge society
  • Globalization
  • Neo-colonialism
  • Criticism