chapter  2
The value of knowledge in post-industrial societies
Pages 24

In this chapter, I examine the discourses on the value of knowledge in postindustrial, knowledge-based societies; in particular I examine the origins of the dominant discourse that gave scientific knowledge a central position in our understanding of today’s society and economy (Lyotard, 1984; Foucault, 1980; Drucker, 1993), and which turned it into a commodity, the concepts it has suggested, the new order of knowledge production and consumption it has created (Gibbons et al., 1994) and the practices that the organizations have consequently adopted. Finally, I critically discuss the ‘rationality’ of these practices. After having explored the evolution of knowledge discourse, and how knowledge is always wedded with power, then my argument is that the new discourse on commercial knowledge enacts a network of power relations that need be further and thoroughly studied. In other words, I suggest that knowledge management is essentially a political question, which has implications on the organizational structures, but also on the pragmatics of knowledge.