Optional – Line of Research 2

Culture, Nature, and Information

Cognitive and financial global capitalism faces a double crisis: the financial governance crisis and the crisis of the concept of development itself. The environmental issue, of the limits to growth, unfolds into the emergence of new technologies of power, knowledge, and information. Production and power invest directly in life. It is the relationship culture-nature-information itself that has to be discussed, in the perspective of the biopolitical dimensions of power.

Discourse Ethics

The linguistic turn. The functions of language. Communicative action and strategic action. The lifeworld. The moral fact. Objective and subjective approaches in ethics. The rules of argumentation. Validity pretenses in communicative action. Discourse ethics and its foundations in the action theory. The theory of moral development. Action oriented to understanding. Integration of the observer’s and the participant’s perspectives. Truth in discourse and in the lifeworld. The pragmatic turn. Accuracy and truth. Facticity and validity.

Information and Environmental Sustainability

The origins of the environmental crisis in the historical perspective of the man-nature relationship and of the ecological benchmarks. Notions of growth and economic development and their ecological implications. Challenges and deadlocks of human development and their new ways of mobilizing and interacting. The need to know and evaluate changes in the environment through sustainability indicators. Environmental policies (Agenda 21 and global, national, state, local, international agreements). Information and knowledge in environmental management.

Information and Socio-Technical Networks

Socio-technical networks and information networks. Contemporary information networks as an expression of socioeconomic, political, and cultural structures and processes. The role of technologies in information communication and knowledge generation in networks. Information management within the context of social networks. Types of information, forms.

Information, Culture, Science, and Technology

Socio-cultural context and socio-demographic dimensions of information and of the access to science and technology. Information, science, technology, and social change. Methodological resources for the study of the relation between information and socio-cultural context. Use of databases. Scientific and technological dissemination.

Information, Knowledge, and Development

Information and knowledge in contemporary geopolitics. Local, national, and global dimensions of information and knowledge. Technological change, immaterial production, information, and work.

Information, Knowledge, and Innovation

Different approaches to innovation dynamics in information and knowledge. The economy of information and knowledge. Information and communication technologies, changes in the technical and productive base, and related transformations.

Information, Knowledge, and Power

Power relations in informational and cognitive processes, in the face of technological, social, and institutional settings in our contemporary world. Information regimes and the dynamics of conflict and cooperation.

Interdisciplinary Seminars in Information and Knowledge

This course is organized in the form of a seminar, aiming at familiarizing students with the research themes being developed at the PPGCI, as well as other contemporary themes in Information Science and connected areas.

Knowledge policies and Information Regime

From scientific policies to knowledge governance: changes in processes of knowledge production and validation processes. Normative and regulatory contexts in science, institutional aspects. Information regimes and the new scientific and cultural grammars. Scientific and technological information: conditions and criteria of validity and reliability. Criticism of the algorithm conception in knowledge and its effects. Validation issues in collaborative networks and digital networks. Argumentative research and ethical commitments.

Knowledge, Technology, and Social Change

Different interpretative lines on the relations between social change and scientific and technological change. Knowledge and information in the context of the current socio-technical transformations. New dynamics and interaction and their implications on information processes and social production.

Language, Work, and Learning

The dialectics of the constitution of the human being: work, interaction, and language. Contemporary metamorphoses related to work. The lifeworld. Immaterial work. Knowledge, value, and wealth. General intellect. System as a difference. Language, communication, and system. Social networks. Devices. Language-mediated interactions. Communicative action. Communicative reason and discourse. The theory of moral development. Learning.

Political Economy of Information, Communication, and Culture

Information, communication, and culture in contemporary capitalism. Basic concepts of political economy applied to the study of information, communication, and culture. Information, work, and value. Mediatized culture and the society of the spectacle. Economic and political organization of processes of information handling, communication, recording and appropriation of information and of mediatized culture. Public policies in information, communication, and culture. Intellectual property rights. Digital networks, public spaces, and resistances. The new socio-digital forms of social exclusion.

Science, Scientists, and Society

The social character of scientific activity, the relations between science and society, the social process of scientific discovery and organization of scientific work. Relations between science, technology and information generation methods for evaluation and monitoring in science.

Social Uses of Information Technology

Information, technology, and democracy. Social inequality and the digital divide. Information and communication technologies and social development. Information and communication technologies in the workplace and in the educational environment. Conceptualization, mensuration, and construction of production indicators, use, and information literacy.

Technology and Lifeworld

Analysis of the position of technology in general and of information and communication technologies in particular in the theoretical framework of three schools of philosophy. (1) Critique effected in Heideggerian hermeneutics: frame, device, impersonality, chatter, inauthenticity. (2) Critique affected by the first generation of the Frankfurt School: scientism and positivism, instrumental and strategic reason, the culture industry, aestheticization experience. (3) The potential of information technologies in Habermas’s theory of communicative action: the participatory approach versus ill-considered reproduction of system standards; construction of communicatively structured communities; inclusion of themes and propositions in communicative clashes in the public sphere.