BY Michael D. Kennedy – Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Brown University and the author of Cultural Formations of Postcommunism: Emancipation, Transition, Nation, and War (2002) and Professionals, Power and Solidarity in Poland: A Critical Sociology of Society-Type Society (1991).
Heralding a push for higher education to adopt a more global perspective, the term “globalizing knowledge” is today a popular catchphrase among academics and their circles. The complications and consequences of this desire for greater worldliness, however, are rarely considered critically. In this groundbreaking cultural-political sociology of knowledge and change, Michael D. Kennedy rearticulates questions, approaches, and case studies to clarify intellectuals’ and institutions’ responsibilities in a world defined by transformation and crisis.
Globalizing Knowledge introduces the stakes of globalizing knowledge before examining how intellectuals and their institutions and networks shape and are shaped by globalization and world-historical events from 2001 through the uprisings of 2011–13. But Kennedy is not only concerned with elaborating how wisdom is maintained and transmitted, he also asks how we can recognize both interconnectedness and inequalities, and possibilities for more knowledgeable change within and beyond academic circles. Subsequent chapters are devoted to issues of public engagement, the importance of recognizing difference and the local’s implication in the global, and the specific ways in which knowledge, images, and symbols are shared globally. Kennedy considers numerous case studies, from historical happenings in Poland, Kosova, Ukraine, and Afghanistan, to today’s energy crisis, Pussy Riot, the Occupy Movement, and beyond, to illuminate how knowledge functions and might be used to affect good in the world.