Mapping the Knowledge Structure: The Global Political Economy of Knowledge in the Digital Age

The spread of the internet and its related digital technologies into all facets of social, economic and political life, has made control over knowledge a key driver of economic and political power in the global political economy. Firms such as Google, which were not even around 20 years ago, are beginning to play a decisive role in global politics, economics and society. My research at the Centre, undertaken with Dr. Natasha Tusikov, explores the nature, limits and possibilities of global governance of what Susan Strange called the “knowledge structure” – that part of the political economy involving control over the legitimization, creation, dissemination and use of knowledge. Specifically, it focuses on the regulation of data, intellectual property and the internet. Its guiding questions are:

1. In terms of governance, which actors are shaping the rules that govern how knowledge is created, disseminated and used in a digital world?
2. What are the social (economic, political, and creative) effects of these rules?
3. What representational and distributional issues are posed by the specific forms of knowledge governance currently in place, and how can these challenges best be addressed?