‘Knowledge Society in India: Reflections on work, culture and identity’
Prof. Debal K. Singharoy,
Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi.
This talk will focus on the contexts and the processes of the emergence of knowledge society, its economic momentum and socio-cultural milieu across rural and urban spaces and among cross sections of social collectivities in India and the emerging patterns of work participation and formation of new identities therein. It elaborates the broad canvas and the inter-sectionality of the emergence of neoliberal state, economic globalization, fast rate of penetration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), increasing significance of service sector and growing importance of knowledge sector in the economy to show that India stands today in the threshold of a knowledge society wherein the knowledge workers have emerged to be the key social categories. This new society has brought into being new patterns of work participation, work relations, social hierarchies and has helped construction of new social identities. Knowledge society however is taking shape within the pre-existing caste, ethnic, gender and spatial divides making its spread to be eclectic among cross sections of population. Though this society has created unequal space for social mobility for the knowledgeable and the non-knowledgeable, and has in many ways retained its positive correlation with the tradition facets social hierarchy and marginality, it has been augmenting scope and conditions of alternative choices for the people as this society recognizes human being and their brain power to its key resource. The fundamental shift in recognition from those of land of agricultural age, machine tool of the industrial age to human capability of the knowledge age, have produced new identity of workers in the knowledge age. However as has remained part agricultural, part industrial and part knowledge based, transitional in work participation, posited in the intersectionality between tradition and modernity, and diverse levels of capacity formulation it only experiences the proliferation of multiple identities of the social actors across the space that get consolidated at one end and fragmented at another. Despite such fragmentation, however knowledge society in India has emerged to be the hope for new India as it has brought in new socio cultural momentum and alternative choices for the many.
Prof. Debal K. Singharoy is Professor of Sociology at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. Professor Singharoy is a Visiting Scholar with the Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre and also affiliated to the Athabasca University, Canada as on-line Professor for the Master’s Programme in Integrated Studies. His publications include Towards a Knowledge Society: New Identities in Emerging India, 2014, Dissenting Voices and Transformative Actions: Social Movements in Globalizing World (ed) 2010; Peasant Movements in Post Colonial India: Dynamics of Mobilisation and Identity, 2004; Social Development and the Empowerment of the Marginalised Perspectives and Strategies(ed), 2002. He has published several research papers in national and international journals.