Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Knowledge Society Debates: A series of events exploring science, technology and innovation in India

The Knowledge Society Debates: A series of events exploring science, technology and innovation in India

5th-13th January, 2009

Hyderabad (5-6th), Bangalore (8-9th), Delhi (12-13th)

In India, as in Europe, visions of a ‘knowledge society’ have brought science, technology and innovation to the forefront of politics, democracy and public life. As India positions itself in global high-technologymarkets and European governments attempt to tame their sceptical public, ‘knowledge society’ and ‘knowledge economy’ have become buzzwords in public policy.


  • What is a ‘knowledge society’?
  • Whose knowledge counts?
  • What are the drivers of change?
  • What are the contending perspectives?

India and Europe present many parallels in how they engage with the ‘knowledge society’. Following the work of the ‘National Knowledge Commission’ in India and the ‘Taking the Knowledge Society Seriously’ report in Europe, there is much that each can learn from the other. What is common between European and Indian visions of a ‘knowledge society’? Can these form a basis for an alternative visionof the global future to that of a borderless market? ...Or is the underlying picture one of greater conflict and uncertainty?

These are just some of the questions to be discussed in a series of debates across India – in Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Delhi.

Three lead authors of the European report will discuss their findings with Indian academics, policymakers and activists.

Lead discussants

  • Brian Wynne, Professor of Science Studies and Associate Director of the UK ESRC, Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics, Lancaster University
  • Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Andy Stirling, Professor and Director of Science at the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit and Co-Director of the STEPS Centre, University of Sussex
  • Shiv Visvanathan Professor of Sociology of Science and Technology at DA-IICT, Gandhinagar
  • A number of academics, civil society members, policy commentators, and activists will join the debate to bring in India specific perspectives

Events at the Knowledge Society Debates

a) Roundtable Discussions

b) Public Discussions

(A) Roundtable Discussions

In each city the first day of the debate will be an invitation-only workshop which will critically engage with the politics of ‘knowledge society’. The workshop at each location will include three sessions:Rethinking innovations: Who innovates for whom?Democracy or technocracy? Civic engagement in knowledge societyKnowledge society or risk society? Uncertainty, regulation and precaution


  • Hyderabad, 5th Jan, Centre for Economic and Social Studies
  • Bangalore, 8th Jan, National Institute of Advanced Studies
  • New Delhi, 12th Jan, India Habitat Centre


To participate in the events please contact:

Shanti Mahendra

Email: knowledgedebates[at]

(B) Public Discussions

The roundtables will be followed by a public discussion on the next day, in each city and are open for all. Issues raised at the roundtables will be carried forward to these debates which will focus on the following:

  • Knowledge society and uncertain futures, Hyderabad, 6th Jan 2009, Centre for Economic and Social Studies
  • Knowledge futures in the innovation city, Bangalore, 9th Jan 2009, National Institute of Advanced Studies
  • Democratising Knowledge futures, New Delhi, 13th Jan 2009, British Council Auditorium

More Details

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