Hans Gert Graebe /
The target of the investigations and activities forced by this project are the theoretical and practical dimensions of the ongoing transformation processes towards a "Knowledge Society". This requires an interdisciplinary approach linking together specialists in human sciences and computer scientists, including "hard core computer specialists" that understand the technical aspects of "social collaborative tools" on a sufficient detailed level or, even better, are involved with the creation processes of such tools.
Such a linkage is in the focus of the project, where a key role will be played by computer scientists, that have outstanding reputation in a view on computer science that is not restricted to a "science about the systematic processing of informations - in particular about the automated processing of data using digital devices" (Duden Informatik), but understand computer science as the "technological side of thinking" and thus also as part of human sciences without neglecting the technological aspects of their profession.
The project focuses on the following four big aspects:
(1) A detailed analysis of the increasing importance of infrastructural aspects that can be observed within the ongoing transformation processes. The reproduction of infrastructure is increasingly an important condition of welfare and economic activities.
One of the characteristics of the ongoing transformation processes is the increasing role of cooperative forms of practice, where independent actors with heterogeneous motivations and backgrounds cooperate in collaborative structures. Such structures – commonly called networks - can be observed on different levels of social stratification; territorially stratified at transnational, national, regional and communal levels, but also at areas structured by profession or by concern as, e.g., in modern science in a strict sense or in the wider area of reproduction of the knowledge base of our society at large.
Even more, also in the business area the increasing importance of such structures compared to classical producer consumer relations can be observed both in the mass market (flexible reaction to changing and out-specializing consumer requirements – "Nachfragestrukturen" in German, to avoid the word "consumer") and also in the area of specialized services (agile processes). And even in the management area, the classical area of hierarchical structures organized by the principles of personalized leadership and responsibility, network structures together with reevaluation of elements of self-definition and self-development are advancing.
To put it in one sentence, this project or project framework should address the relationship between forms of practice, of thinking and of knowledge organization within the ongoing transformation processes towards a "knowledge society".