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Lecture 2

Week 8 Lecture 2 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
John Milton

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Page1Week 8 Lecture 2 Knowledge culture and rights Grassroots Innovation GEOG 2200 Fall 2012 Whose knowledge We do not share the same knowledge Different cultures different peoples have assembled differing bodies of knowledge through timeAccording to the Scandinavian economist Lundvall writing in 1994 capitalism has entered a new stage in which knowledge is the most important resource and learning is the most important process This idea is not restricted to such sectors as the high technology industries of computers and biotechnology It applies to all sectors of the economySo what is knowledge Knowledge can be defined as a framework or structure in which information is stored processed and understoodTypes of knowledge Nigel Thrifta geographer writes of a societys stocks of knowledge or what is accepted as known and true He divides a societys stocks of knowledge into four types of knowledgeUnconscious knowledge or knowledge that is based upon forgotten practices but still acknowledged and acceptedPractical knowledge informal in its nature and learnt from experience and practiceEmpirical knowledge formal in nature and organized systematically within a society andNatural knowledge which seeks to unify knowledge into a single coherent structureUse of knowledge We use knowledge in many ways one important use being in the creation of artifactsthingsthat we use Concerning the question of what should be considered an innovationScholars such as Nelson and Rosenberg 1993 and Carlsson and Stankiewcicz 1995 define innovation in a narrow sense consisting of technological or mechanical innovationsOthers such as Lundvall 1992 and Freeman 1988 define innovation in a much broader sense including innovations in practices institutions and education in their definitionsWhat is an innovative act Scholars distinguish between innovation invention and discovery In contrast to the common understanding of innovation as stated above a discovery is generally to be understood as consisting simply of some new knowledge whether this is theoretical empirical or practical and invention is defined as the creation of some new deviceproduct or process However these activities of discovery invention and innovation are quite often bound together in their own Gregorian knot the untangling of which can be problematicTo murky the waters further a discovery or invention might not become an innovation immediately or in its original form Through what Schumpeter 1943 terms the entrepreneurial function and Hargadon 2003 terms recombinant innovation new innovations are created through the reorganising of knowledge technologies and practices into new combinations Acts of invention and discovery can become relevant at a much later date at which time they might become the catalyst for new innovation or be incorporated into an emerging innovation through combination with other components at some other time and in some other placePage2Joseph Schumpeter 1934 identified five types of innovationthe introduction of a new product or new product qualitythe introduction of a new production processthe opening up of a new marketthe securing of a new source of raw materials or other inputs andthe creation and application of a new organizational structure in an industrial sectorTo Schumpeter innovation was measured by commercial or economic gain achieved through new or improved products changes in economic production systems or expanding distribution networksMarquis 1969 distinguished between three general types of innovation radical basic or breakthrough innovations that change industries or create whole new industries systems innovations that focus on changes in existing industries and nuts and bolts or incremental innovations that are small but important improvements to existing products processes and servicesMensch 1979 distinguished between basic innovations that establish new branches of industry radical improvement innovations that rejuvenate existing branches of industry and pseudoinnovations that are the vast numbers of minor improvements and variations of existing products and services and that are common in older branches of sectors of enterprise Freeman and Perez 1988 distinguished between four categories of innovation based upon their impact upon the economy and societyincremental innovationsinnovations that build on existing technologies and that occur more or less continuouslyradical innovationswhat Lundgren 1995 termed discontinuous events unattainable through incremental adjustments of the preexisting state of affairsnew technological systemsbasic changes in technology used by several sectors of the economy that impact upon these sectors andnew technoeconomic paradigmsfundamental technological revolutions that have farreaching effects on the entire economy and that transform societyRewarding innovation In our Europeanbased system we assign intellectual property rights to inventions We do this for two reasonsFirst to reward inventors for creating things of use and valueSecond to encourage ongoing innovation in our societyBUT not all cultures view such a relationship between knowledge and property rights or ownership Many other cultures see knowledge as being communitybased and shared With the ascendency of European civilization and the continuing advancement of globalization we continue to witness a collisionor clash of culturesbetween the dominant Western culture still manifested through globalizaioinand other cultures This collision is very well illustrated by the continuing tensions revolving around ownership of knowledge The view from the Global South Vanda Shiva a staunch critic of intellectual property rights writes in Monocultures of the Mind
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