Knowledge Democracy: Epistemologies of the South
The Tate Modern Gallery in London has organised a seminar series called: Topology: Spaces of Transformation that has been running since November of 2011 and will continue to June 2012.
Yesterday, the 28th of April, 2012 was a session on “Epistemologies of the South: Reinventing Social Emmancipation” –The panellists were Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Shiv Visvanathan, Suely Rolnik and Sarat Maharaj. From a knowledge democracy perspective this was a fascinating set ofpresentations and worth while passing on to others.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos is a Professor of Sociology at Coimbra University in Portugal and a Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin in the USA. He has worked closely with the World Social Forum and is well known for putting forward the ideas that “Global Social Justice will not come without global cognitive justice”
Shiv Visvanathan is a Professor at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication, Gandhinagar, India. Among his contributions is the concept of “cognitive justice”.
“The concept of cognitive justice was serendipitously proposed by the author as a rubric for just such a realization. Cognitive justice recognises the right of different forms of knowledge to co-exist, but adds that this plurality needs to go beyond tolerance or liberalism to an active recognition of the need for diversity. It demands recognition of knowledges, not only as methods but as ways of life. This presupposes that knowledge is embedded in ecology of knowledges where each knowledge has itsplace, its claim to a cosmology, its sense as a form of life. In this senseknowledge is not something to be abstracted from a culture as a life form; it is connected to livelihood, a life cycle, a lifestyle; it determines life chances”.
Sarat Maharaj is South African born and educated during the Apartheid era, with a PhD from Goldsmith’s, University of London and currently Professor of Visual Art and Knowledge Systems.
He writes and speaks of “Know-how and No How” in the context of arts and knowledge production.
“The query that crops up right away with the idea of “visual art as knowledge production” is: “what sort of knowledge?” Hard on its heels “What marks out its difference, its otherness?” Should we not rather speak of non-knowledge - activity that is neither hard-nosed know-how nor its ostensible opposite,ignorance? The question is especially pertinent in today’s expanding knowledge economy that we should not only see as a “technological development” but as an emerging overall condition of living that I prefer to speak of as the “grey-matter” environs”.
Suely Rolnik is a Brazilian psychoanalyst and cultural critic based at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo. She says, “The poetical force is the only non-negotiable element when the negotiation with economical or macro-political interests is unavoidable. She works on the concepts of Anthropophasic Subjectivity