The Role of the Humanities in the Knowledge Economy: Critique or Cornerstone?

By Greg Hearn and Harvey May.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Sadly, the humanities’ de facto stance towards ‘the knowledge economy’ is often hostile and/or dismissive. Instead we argue that only by understanding and engaging with ‘the knowledge economy’ will the humanities be revitalised.

Our starting premise is that there are four fundamental and pivotal features of 21st century knowledge economies with which the humanities must come to terms. These are:

• The imperative to innovate continually;
• The centrality of networks – both as a material and conceptual organising axis;
• The centrality of trans-disciplinary knowledge;
• The economic significance of culture.

We argue that the most important new direction for the humanities is to fully engage with the knowledge economy by being involved with these aspects of its operation. This engagement needs to be applied in the first instance and critical in the second instance, because critique can only be informed when it interpenetrates the phenomenon to be critiqued.

Keywords: Knowledge Economy, Networks, Innovation, Critique

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 10, pp.87-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 545.619KB).

Prof. Greg Hearn

Professor, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Greg Hearn is Research Professor: Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation, QUT. His work focuses on mapping and policy development for the Creative Industries. He has been involved in high level consulting and applied research examining new media and industry/organisational forms for more than two decades, with organisations including British Airways, Hewlett Packard, and many Australian national and state government agencies. He was a consultant to the Broadband Services Expert Group, the national policy group that formulated Australia’s foundational framework for the internet in 1994. In 2005 he was an invited member of a working party examining the role of creativity in the innovation economy for the Australian Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council. He has authored or co-authored over 20 major research reports and 6 number of books including The communication superhighway: Social and economic change in the digital age (1998: Allen and Unwin) and Knowledge Policy: Challenges for the 21st Century (2007: Edward Elgar).

Harvey May

Senior Research Fellow, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


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