Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Multiple Contributions & Multi-Production Of New Knowledge

Knowledge For Good

Most people are willing to use their own knowledge for good once you show them how.

2 responses to “Knowledge For Good

  1. David Phipps June 8, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Just to be a fly in the ointment (the nicest expression I can think of), “good” is socially constructed. We have all seen instances where “knowledge” is used to justify some positions that might not be considered “good”. Selective application of some knowledge can inform or worse, justify, political and other decisions. Is there a role for knowledge intermediaries to play in this? Are knowledge intermediaries always agnostic to their content or do they have an obligation as honest brokers to influence the application of the knowledge they are brokering? Do we need a knowledge broker code of conduct? Perhaps a Hippocratic Oath equivant, “First, do no harm”.

  2. KMbeing June 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks for the comment David. On first glance, taking a comparative approach of knowledge brokers to doctors seems a bit extreme – suggesting knowledge brokers take some Hippocratic Oath equivalent in comparing the life saving work that doctors do; but I do think you have touched on something important. Namely, that knowledge brokers (like all of us) should base our lives on some personal code of intergrity and honesty. Unfortunately, we live in a world where this seems to be sadly lacking – and yes, ideas of what is considered “good” and “honest” are socially constructed and not always agreed upon. Yet, there are many who continue to live lives of integrity and honesty contributing to the benefit of society as a whole.

    I think that’s the key to understanding the idea behind social constructionist theory when overcoming the arguments about “good”, “honesty” and “integrity” being socially constructed. These concepts are defined in the broader application and broader acceptance of these socially constructed ideas. The broader we can apply and agree upon this understanding towards all of humanity and the greater acceptance of what these terms mean helps with the theory of social construction. That being said – it is still a theory.

    On a more practical level, most of us know what it means to be honest and good to other people. We have an understanding of basic human rights – and yes they are not always agreed upon in this world. That doesn’t means we stop trying. I think we would all agree that everyone has a basic right to food, but sadly we live in a world where this isn’t the case. Some people still go hungry. Some would argue it’s instinctual to hunt & forage for food – so “every person to themselves” and “survival of the fittest”. But that’s where the concepts of integrity (socially constructed or otherwise) take us beyond mere instinct to be better human beings and see that we share our food as a human right. Again, sadly, this is still not always the case. Nevertheless, I think it’s still worth the effort.

    To get back to knowledge brokers, I think you touched upon the idea of the honest knowledge broker in one of your ResearchImpact blogs, am I right? I think there is a role for knowledge intermediaries to play using knowledge for greater and broader social benefit. I think the idea of anyone being completely agnostic to basic human rights (and I believe access to knowledge for greater social benefit is a basic human right) is limiting. Knowledge brokers do have an obligation as honest brokers to contribute to knowledge for greater social benefit Knowledge brokers don’t need a formal knowledhge broker code of conduct, but they do need a personal code of honesty and integrity that considers treating every person on this earth with basic human rights – that we hope everyone will share. We can only hope.

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