183.1 The discourse on knowledge and innovation. Rethinking professionalism

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 2:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Helena SERRA , Sociology, ISEG/SOCIUS, Lisboa, Portugal
Discourse on knowledge and innovations seems to draw new challenges in professions and professionalism. The production and discourse on professional knowledge opens new directions for research on sociology of professions. The legitimization of scientific knowledge and, particularly of discourse on knowledge, seems to have strong connections with the idea of that this kind of discourse, that emerges from a social scientific discipline forms truth objects and future guidelines. In line with Foucault’s’ analyses, it is precisely the disciplinary power of scientific discourse that shapes post-industrial society. The passage from industrial to post-industrial society was accomplished by means of change in the value and status of knowledge. Knowledge has always been an important element in terms of innovation changes, but in the current context a novel element arises: its commercial and economic character. This new status of knowledge places knowledge discourse in a political arena, where interest groups struggle over its articulation. The economic value of knowledge redefines its nature. The discourse knowledge is present in many new occupations such as management consultants, information technologists or computer engineers, which shares the same label of “knowledge workers” with traditional scientific professions such as physics, biologists or physicians. The power relations between groups are being redefined and renegotiated in the new knowledge discourse. From this point, we should expect certain changes that this new discourse triggers in professional regulation and new forms of professionalism.