This website is collated by Allan Parsons.
The readings in this site are contributions to an understanding of knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination and knowledge preservation in an era in which the book, the journal, the library and the archive, as repositories of academic and other forms of knowledge, as well as the processes of publishing, of making public, the public realm and public space, and the infrastructures on which they rely, are increasingly unstable or, rather, ‘open’, but nonetheless still subject to particular, determinate regimes and constraints.
Crucially, this affects the evidentiary and documentary bases of claims to knowing about the world (abstract, constative, intellectual) and to knowing the world (embodied, performative, enacted).
In one sense, then, the readings concern the material, the cultural and the social status of knowledge, in short, the various ontological states of knowledge. In another sense, they concern the body of knowledge as a living corpus rather than an inert corpse.
The texts all acknowledge that knowing takes place through an engagement with a world, through being part of a material world that is at once a cultural world and a social world, yet whose materiality escapes cultural and social appropriation, both in the form of property and in the form of propriety; and that, as already noted, that world is dynamic and cannot be taken for granted as a stable ground or foundation.
In this perspective, knowing, as a relationship to a world, is always provisional and conditional. As an orientation to a world, knowing is, therefore, engaged and interested, in as far as knowledge provides a framework and motivations for action-in-context, a preparedness to act, and a predisposition to re-enact (on the basis of ‘knowing’).
Perception, as a kind of knowing, is not simple observation. It is an act rather than an impression, and, for that reason, knowing requires reflexive, practical work in order to be constituted as knowledge, or practical wisdom (phronesis), while neither becoming fully dis-interested nor finally completed.
Knowing is never a matter of being fully present in itself or to itself, of being self-possessed; such conditions, as certainties, are another matter than knowing. That knowledge can be claimed as possession, through a process of acquisition, brings to attention a power-knowledge relation and the knot or problematique of imaginary identification and temporal stabilisation.
Knowing, in other words, remains open to its own internal difference (the other within itself) as well as its relation to otherness (the other than itself).