Project funded under FP7
Contract number: 217190
Instrument: CSA (Support)
1) From Information to Knowledge Societies
There is a general agreement on the appropriateness of the term Knowledge Society to describe the trends of post-industrial societies that emerged in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The hallmark of these societies is that theoretical knowledge and knowledge-based services have become major components of any economic activity. The first definition of the Knowledge Society that was proposed by Peter Drucker and Daniel Bell in the early 1970s corresponds with the notion of Information Society. Though it is undeniable that the worldwide spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has created new conditions for the emergence of Knowledge Societies, the notion of Knowledge Society cannot be reduced to the concept of Information Society. While it can be said that the emergence of the Knowledge Society depends upon the Information Society for its infrastructure, Knowledge Societies are about capabilities to produce, process and disseminate knowledge for development. In this respect, the general sub-director of UNESCO for Communication and Information Abdul Waheed Khan states: "Information Society is the building block for Knowledge Societies. Whereas I see the concept of Information Society as linked to the idea of technological inovation, the concept of Knowledge Societies includes a dimension of social, cultural, economical, political and institutional transformation, and a more pluralistic and developmental perspective. In my view, the concept of Knowledge Societies is preferable to that of the Information Society because it better captures the complexity and dynamism of the changes taking place. [...] the knowledge in question is important not only for economic growth but also for empowering and developing all sectors of society."
Knowledge Societies can be understood as societies where knowledge is the primary production resource and the primary resource to create wealth, prosperity and well-being for the people. Investment in intangible, human and social capital becomes therefore the most valuable asset as wealth created is being measured less on the output of workforce itself, but more on the general level of science, progress of technology and the learning capabilities of societies.
2) The EU-LAC Knowledge Area
In a declaration issued at the third EU-LAC Summit in Guadalajara in May 2004, leaders from the EU, Latin America and the Caribbean have agreed to launch a partnership in science and technology with a view to including Latin America and the Caribbean as a target region for the EU Framework Programmes in these sectors. Thereby contributions shall be made to deepen and develop bi-regional links and to encourage mutual participation in research programmes.
An important foundation for this partnership is the recognition of the importance of science and technology to economic and social development.
The Declaration refers to the building of the “EU-LAC Knowledge Area” as a stimulating moment for the scientific collaboration between the two regions. The future EU-LAC Knowledge Area should be built on the results of the successful science and technology bi-regional dialogue and include reinforcement of cooperation in science and technology, higher education, innovation and information and communication technologies.
A key initiative in support of the building of a EU-LAC Knowledge Area has been the ALCUE Common Area in Higher Education LAC-EU, an initiative of the LAC countries and the EU to create an environment of interaction and bilateral and multilateral cooperation of the regions' systems of higher education.
Within the ALCUE Space a “Chair for the Knowledge Society” was introduced and coordinated by FLACSO-México and pursued the intention to promote a dialogue on the different approaches of the EU and Latin America of how to confront the challenges of the emerging knowledge society.
In the context of the evolving EU-LAC Knowledge Area EULAKS intends to strengthen the impact of Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities on the building of a common knowledge base for the consolidation of the policy dialogue and a shared understanding of policy development.