Moving (Con)Texts. Production and Circulation of Ideas in the Global Knowledge Economy

5th Transdisciplinary Forum Magdeburg
July 10th - 12th, 2009 Otto-von-Guericke-University, Magdeburg, Germany


Keynote speaker: Martin Jay, History, Berkeley

Globalized societies have seen decisive shifts toward economic and technological unification. Yet the space of cultural and symbolic practices remains an opaque, fragmented, heterogeneous one. As texts, ideas and theories circulate in different contexts, they are appropriated, used and understood in manifold ways. On the transnational market of cultural production, texts have no fixed value or meaning; they are caught up in the intricate problems of their symbolic materiality. As an important stake in the global knowledge economy, ideas are deployed by new rhetorical strategies of "achieving international excellence", "developing human capital" and "making knowledge competitive". While "high" (theoretical) and "low" (everyday) references are articulated in hybrid knowledge cultures, there is growing insight into the limits of pure ideas existing outside their social demarcations and hegemonic constellations. In consequence the transfer, transition and exchange of cultural products have become the object of investigation.

It is the objective of this conference to engage in critical reflections on the production and circulation of ideas. Conference participants are invited to address the theoretical and empirical dimensions of the global knowledge economy. The aim of transforma5 is to bring together different approaches (such as social constructivism, Marxism/critical theory, political economy, poststructuralism, postcolonial theory, feminism, ethnomethodology, cultural materialism…) and disciplines (such as intellectual history, critical theory, science studies, cultural studies, sociology of knowledge, cognitive theory, ethnography, education, philosophy…).

Conference contributions could focus on one of the following areas:

  • Intellectuals de/re-territorialized
  • Hegemonic representations, critical interrogations
  • Reflexive representations of the totality
  • Body, affect, emotions in theory
  • Reading ambivalent texts in shifting contexts
  • Exchange, transfer, contact of ideas between knowledge cultures
  • The post-national governmentality of the knowledge society
  • Doing theory in the academic institution
  • Globalization, localization, glocalization in symbolic production
  • Theory as discourse: subjectivity, agency, resistance
  • Global flows, local resistances in the global space of communication
  • The political economy of academic capitalism
  • Representing cultural capital
  • etc.

    We are looking forward to contributions that discuss theoretical, reflexive, political, practical, ideological and aesthetic aspects of moving con/texts. We welcome proposals dealing with approaches to the global knowledge economy. The conference will bring together manifold perspectives (e.g. poststructuralist, Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, constructivist, system-theoretical perspectives) from various disciplines (sociology, cultural studies, international ralations, history, philosophy, literature etc.).