Globalization of Knowledge

Globalization Processes of Knowledge

Other involved Scholars: 

Paul Stefan Trzeciok, Imad Samir


Zakariya' Qazvini, Aja'ib al-makhluqat (The Wonders of Created Beings); MS Washington, Library of Congress, Turkish Manuscript 185. Courtesy Library of Congress, Washington.

Globalization is understood as the global or potentially global diffusion of any means of social cohesion, be it economic, political, technical, cultural, or epistemic. Globalization can therefore be traced back to the beginnings of human history. Its processes typically involve several layers, such as the migration of populations, the spread of technologies, and the dissemination of languages, religious ideas, or of political and economic structures. Recent discussions about globalization processes emphasize two apparently contradictory characteristics of such processes: homogenization and universalization, on the one hand, and their contribution to an ever more complex and uncontrollable world, on the other. The contrast between the tendency toward an ever “flatter” and an increasingly “fractal” world suggests that comprehensive globalization processes result from a superposition of these various layers, with knowledge playing a pivotal role in orchestrating the interaction of these layers, also by shaping the identity of the historical actors. By studying the globalization of knowledge in history, an epistemological framework has been elaborated that enables the systematic analysis of historical processes of technology transfer, the spread of epistemic frameworks, the dynamic relation between local and global knowledge traditions, and the globalization of modern science (†Peter Damerow, †Malcolm Hyman, Jürgen Renn, Helge Wendt). It makes use of a classification of different forms of knowledge, of different forms of representation, as well as of transmission and transformation processes. The concept of the mental allows here the conceptualization of context-dependent reasoning mechanisms that are not mathematized or otherwise structured as a deductive system.