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    Knowledge Lab: Knowledge Production and Knowledge Infrastructures

     March 2024 - ongoing

    The role of expert knowledge has received much public attention in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic (Büttner and Laux 2021). The responses to the pandemic revealed once again that there are usually competing assessments and proposed solutions to complex social decision-making problems. This results from the incompleteness and situatedness of knowledge (Haraway 1988). The place- and time-relatedness of knowledge is particularly evident in area studies and is often explicitly addressed in comparative research. This approach critically challenges the hierarchization of languages and knowledge systems. Differences in the perception and interpretation of social challenges and the resulting strategies for action provide insight into how knowledge production and knowledge use are influenced by local and cultural contexts. Furthermore, processes of decolonization are in productive tension with the formation of political decision-making in nation states, which also shapes the production and use of knowledge.

    The Knowledge Lab "Knowledge Production and Knowledge Infrastructures" aims to promote trans-disciplinary dialog between researchers working and cooperating at the DIJ. Our own research projects serve as case studies for reflecting on knowledge production and knowledge infrastructures. Knowledge infrastructures comprise institutions and networks through which the production and use of expert knowledge is coordinated (Edwards et al. 2013). In this process, two levels of knowledge production and knowledge infrastructures must be linked: that of the research object in the narrower sense and that of the researcher's own research interest and associated preconceptions. As a result, this leads to an integrated contextualization of the histories of the phenomena that both trigger research and become its subject (Mauthner 2023), to a deeper understanding of one's own topical area and one's own related research, as well as to greater insight into what researchers do and what research is more generally.

    The current global wave of digital transformation gives the topic additional relevance. Virtualization is changing knowledge production and knowledge infrastructures with far-reaching consequences for the regionally oriented humanities and social science disciplines. We plan to pursue this complex of topics as part of our participation in the 4Memory and Text+ consortia of the German National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI).


    Büttner, S.M., Laux, T., 2021. Umstrittene Expertise und die Wissensproblematik der Politik: Eine Einführung, in: Büttner, S., Laux, T. (Eds.), Umstrittene Expertise: Zur Wissensproblematik der Politik, Leviathan. Sonderband. Nomos, Baden-Baden, pp. 13–40.

    Edwards, P. N., Jackson, S. J., Chalmers, M. K., Bowker, G. C., Borgman, C. L., Ribes, D., Burton, M., & Calvert, S. (2013). Knowledge Infrastructures: Intellectual Frameworks and Research Challenges. Ann Arbor: Deep Blue.

    Haraway, D. 1988. „Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.“ In Feminist Studies, 1988, Vol. 14 (3), 575-599.

    Mauthner, N. 2023. “Diffractive Genealogy”, in Rodekirchen, M., Pottinger, L. Briggs, A., Barron, A., Eseonu, T., Hall, S. and Browne, A.L. (eds.) Methods for Change Volume 2: Impactful social science methodologies for 21st century problems. Manchester: Aspect and The University of Manchester,