Unpacking Knowledge ...

Read Osberg and Biesta (2008) on Emergent Curriculum (Journal of Curriculum Studies, 40:3, 313-328). Great article, and I fully support the thrust of the argument against commoditised subjectivity, and the move towards an emergent epistemology.

However ...

One of the problems (that haunts much of the debate in knowledge management) is that 'knowledge' covers too much (better in French, apparently, where there are more words for it), and I think this paper hits up against a similar problem.

I need more distinctions, if I am going to make sense of 'emergent epistemology/ies' ...

1. Educational enculturation, which I need to separate into

... social enculturation
... epistemological enculturation

They are separate, and can succeed and fail separately. Its a long story, but there is an interesting example of this in the failure of the early HIV/AIDS campaigns in Botswana, in which schooling achieved (traditional) social enculturation in broad terms, but didnt seem to achive much at all in terms of epistemological enculturation. (No sign of emergent epistemologies, but that's another issue).

2. Strategic knowledge (at an organisational level), or Capability (at an individual level)

I define this (in an article in Journal of Knowledge Management: 12 (4) 72 - 85) by splitting it up as follows:

Strategic knowledge is the fit between:

... formal knowledge (similar to Popper's World 3, abstract knowledge - which they quote), and
... formal contextual analysis (much of social science), and
... available resources.

... all of which is informed by informal knolwedge, experience, and community.

And that is the basis for meaning (at an individual level) and culture/discourse (at a CoP/social level).

3. Acquiring and circulating 'it'
I also need to distinguish between acquiring and circulating meaning, on the one hand, and knowledge on the other.

I think it is useful to frame

....Meaning as strategic knowledge/capability - as in #2, above, and
... Formal knowledge as, precisely, commoditised information, which is, simply, information deliberately and systematically stripped of all context and subjectivity, expressly for the purposes of circulation, exchange, and the accumulation of intellectual capital. This is a process that is homologous to the process of creating money, or financial 'capital', which is similarly stripped (as far as the exchange rates allow it to be) of context and subjectivity, (and can be read straight off Capital Vol 1).

If we accept this distinction, it follows that we can 'exchange' formal knowledge/information, but that we can only 'share' meaning (depending on what we have in common - individually and culturally). And Complexity theory helps us with the 'sharing meaning' part of the equation.

Cross posted here ...