A conceptualization of the knowledge society that enables the study of its development in cross-national and longitudinal perspective
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[German title: Eine Konzeptionalisierung der Wissensgesellschaft, die die Studie ihrer Entwicklung aus einer länderübergreifenden und längslaufenden Perspektive ermöglicht]

Daniela Rohrbach
The development of knowledge societies in 19 OECD countries between 1970 and 2002
Social Science Information, Vol. 46, No. 4, 655-689 (2007)
DOI: 10.1177/0539018407082596

Abstract: The use frequency of the term `knowledge society’ to characterize present Western societies is disproportionate to the clarity of its measurement and the availability of longitudinal and cross-national evidence. The author develops a conceptualization of the knowledge society that enables the study of its development in cross-national and longitudinal perspective. This conceptualization is then applied to an analysis of 19 OECD countries between 1970 and 2002. Three main sets of findings are proposed. (1) In all 19 countries a clear trend towards the knowledge society is observable. (2) From an employment perspective, societies were and still are mainly knowledge-mediation societies but are increasingly becoming knowledge-management societies; from a value-added perspective they are better described as knowledge-infrastructure societies. (3) However, developing knowledge societies di fer enormously in terms of their sectoral structures – within and outside the knowledge sector.

Key Words: Comparative sociology • Empirical research • Employment • Knowledge sector (KS) • Knowledge society • Social change • Value added

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© 2007 Maison des Sciences de l’Homme , SAGE Publications


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