Intellectuals, Knowledge, Power


Welcome to Intellectuals: Knowledge, Power, Ideas project homepage. The project seeks to explore the role, character, nature and place of intellectuals and intellectual work in contemporary society. Whilst the ‘intellectual’ emerges as a particular category with the development of modernity, the ‘knowledgable’ and knowledge producers have been an important historical agent and social actor since the early Greek philosophers, and knowledge production, whether religious, scientific or philosophical, has been important in shaping social, political, economic and cultural change. Intellectuals and the knowledge they produce have been subject to competing representations: from an ‘elect’ producing knowledge for its own sake to different forms of philosopher king, servant of the state or dissenting movement intellectuals connecting politically with change in the social world. In contemporary ‘knowledge’ societies, much of the focus on the intellectual as a ‘public’ figure, residing within the media intelligentsia or institutions of higher learning, but competing theories of intellectuals and their work identify elitist, meritocratic and radical alternatives about who intellectuals are, what they do, how they are connected to and divided from other social institutions, and why we understand them the way we do.

core themes
The project will critically engage with a number of core themes:

  • History, the Intellectual and Intellectual Work
  • Intellectuals, the Academy and Higher Education
  • Intellectuals and their Troubling Relationship to Knowledge
  • Intellectuals and the Knowledge Society
  • Public Intellectuals and the Intellectual in Public and Political Life
  • Intellectuals and Cultural Life
  • Intellectuals and the Development of Bodies of Knowledge.

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related projects will develop with an open door for other associated manifestations of the relevant themes.

E-mail Discussion Group
A discussion group exists to support the work of the project, to continue the conversations started at the project meetings and to extend the invitation to join the dialogue to any one seeking to explore and wrestle with these issues.

Subscribe/Unsubscribe to the Intellectuals Discussion Group.