Association pour l’anthropologie du changement social et du développement
Association for the anthropology of social change and development

Circulation and Transformation of Knowledge and their Effects in the Global South - Travelling Texts, Pictures, Videos and Imaginations

Auteur(s) : Böhme Claudia ; Schmitz Anett ;

English summary

This panel seeks to explore the increasing circulation and exchange of different forms of knowledge in the Global South through the transnational mobility of people and the use of new media communication technologies. This shall be accomplished in looking at the processes which facilitate the circulation of different kinds of knowledge (political, religious, educational, cultural, migratory), the carriers and transmitters of knowledge (people or media), the transformation of knowledge while travelling, the control and manipulation of knowledge through governments and people in power and the effects of knowledge on peoples’ imaginations and actions.

English argumentary

In the frame of the second form of globalization, the transnational mobility of people and the availability of new communication technologies have both increased in the Global South. The growing circulation of knowledge within the Global South has challenged former one-directed flows of knowledge from North to South. Both people and the media carry with them and disseminate knowledge of the different regions of the Global South as well as their perspectives and imaginations of the world at large.

In this panel, we understand knowledge in the very broad sense with its various forms: scientific, cultural, political, religious, traditional or popular. Knowledge is conveyed in many different forms such as texts, talks or pictures, audio files, videos and images and through all kind of media channels be it human voice, mass media or new media like smartphones and the internet.

The dynamic interaction of different networks of actors contributes to the circulation of knowledge between different geographical locations in the Global South. Received knowledge leads to the imaginations of different forms of being in the world or alternative futures. For the actors these different kinds of knowledge and imaginations can lend them the “capacity to act” and necessary competences facilitating action.

When knowledge circulates, it is the subject of transformation. Just like through a silent post, knowledge changes while being transferred through different circuits and media channels. Running through different hands, knowledge can be appropriated and adapted to local contexts, manipulated or faked for reasons of power or politics, enriched or impoverished. Knowledge, while “free floating” is also subject to control, influence and censorship as those in power control their citizen’s knowledge.

Reaching its destinations, knowledge does have big impacts on the receivers, be it people and places. Academic knowledge circulation can contribute to education and to the development of the respected countries. Political knowledge can lead to revolutions and change of government. Knowledge of other places and countries can lead to imaginations of better futures elsewhere and increased migration to this region. Fake knowledge can lead to hatred and exclusion. Cultural knowledge can enhance cultural production and further dissemination of knowledge.

This panel seeks to explore the circulation of these different kinds of knowledge through different circuits, networks and media and its effects on people and places in the Global South theoretically, empirically and methodologically. The Panel encourages papers, which will touch on, but must not be restricted to, some of the following questions:

  1. Which structural, cultural, political or biographical conditions lead to the rising circulation of knowledge in the Global South?
  2. What role does the “network capital” play within the context of the circulation of knowledge? How do actors use networks to disseminate knowledge as economic, social and cultural capital?
  3. In giving access to a wide range of information, images and imaginaries, how does ICT change knowledge circulation?
  4. How does the form and media channels influence the circulation of knowledge?
  5. What happens to knowledge on its journey from sender to receiver?
  6. What are the concrete effects of knowledge circulation for the countries in the Global South?
  7. How does the increasing knowledge circulation in the Global South effect former transmitting channels from the Global North?
  8. How do migrants make use of different types of knowledge before, during or after their journeys?
  9. How does the circulation of cultural products foster similar cultural production in other countries?
  10. When and why do people trust or mistrust information they receive?
  11. How can the circulation of knowledge be conceptualised theoretically and investigated methodologically?

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