From the global geopolitical arena to the smart city, control over knowledge—particularly over data and intellectual property—has become a key battleground for the exercise of economic and political power. For companies and governments alike, control over knowledge—what scholar Susan Strange calls the knowledge structure—has become a goal unto itself.
The rising dominance of the knowledge structure is leading to a massive redistribution of power, including from individuals to companies and states. Strong intellectual property rights have concentrated economic benefits in a smaller number of hands, while the “internet of things” is reshaping basic notions of property, ownership, and control. In the scramble to create and control data and intellectual property, governments and companies alike are engaging in ever-more surveillance.
The New Knowledge is a guide to and analysis of these changes, and of the emerging phenomenon of the knowledge-driven society. It highlights how the pursuit of the control over knowledge has become its own ideology, with its own set of experts drawn from those with the ability to collect and manipulate digital data. Haggart and Tusikov propose a workable path forward—knowledge decommodification—to ensure that our new knowledge is not treated simply as a commodity to be bought and sold, but as a way to meet the needs of the individuals and communities that create this knowledge in the first place.
About the authors
Blayne Haggart is an associate professor of political science at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of Copyfight: The Global Politics of Digital Copyright Reform (2014) and co-editor with Natasha Tusikov of two volumes on the political economy of internet governance and knowledge governance, in addition to several journal articles on these subjects.
Natasha Tusikov is an associate professor in the Department of Social Science at York University in Toronto and a research fellow with the Justice and Technoscience Lab (JusTech Lab), School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Her research examines the intersection among law, crime, technology, and regulation. She is the author of Chokepoints: Global Private Regulation on the Internet (2017). She is a co-editor of Information, Technology and Control in a Changing World: Understanding Power Structures in the 21st Century (2019) and co-editor of Power and Authority in Internet Governance: Return of the State? (2021). Her research has also been published in Surveillance & Society and Internet Policy Review.