[UPDATE] "I can always find out: Searching for Knowledge as Expertise and the Technocratic Generation"

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Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture

Reconstruction 10.2 Searching for Knowledge as Expertise and the Technocratic Generation

The concept for this special 10th-anniversary issue of Reconstruction stems from two intersecting strands. First, Engelbaert and Licklider's original conception of what has become the Internet was a device for the "augmentation of human intellect." Second, when Theodore Roszak conducted his seminal study on the "counter culture" of the 1960s, among his conclusions was the centrality of technocrats and the technocracy as the pre-eminent authority in North American culture and as the target of youthful resistance.

Not surprisingly, "I can always find out: Searching for Knowledge as Expertise and the Technocratic Generation" has two distinct halves. The first half, in which "always" means "every time," considers the ways in which the ability to find knowledge has become synonymous with expertise and examines the elements that have fostered this situation. In this regard, factors such as the range of software and hardware--from Wikipedia and FAQs to cellphones and iPods--which anticipate or "think" for the user but also require constant updating are both rationale and outcome for their youthful consumers. When combined with the downloading and broadening of elementary and secondary curriculum at an ever-increasing rate, the range of everyday devices which involve "looking up" information the results in technocrats whose expertise is searching. Thus, the second half, in which "always" means the lexical case, "as a last resort." This entails a consideration of the effects of a particular kind of expertise on knowledge and on creativity--namely, a generation of youth who are technocrats themselves. As a result, the assumption "I can always find out" becomes the conclusion "I don't need to know because I can find out if I must" and in turn, the resignation of "I don't need to know."

This special issue envisions three broad areas of inquiry: defining the expertise, the technical/cultural sites of such expertise, the effects of the phenomena on creativity and expression. Scholars are also invited to theorize, including extensions or developments of existing paradigms, on the situation. Other general areas of inquiry might include:

* expertise vs knowledge in the classroom, including specific experiences
* pedagogical strategies for remediation or intervention
* cultural productions requiring such expertise
* curriculum downloading and its implications
* technocrats I have known
* software and hardware that thinks
* governmentalism and youthful technocracy
* the broadening of the youthful demographic

Please send completed essays, multimedia performances, etc. to Marc Ouellette at reconstruction.managing_at_gmail.com by 1 October 2009. We are happy to consider detailed abstracts and proposals (500-800 words with a sketch of the expected shape of the finished piece) prior to this date. Publication is expected in the third quarter of 2010. All submissions are refereed. Papers must follow the Reconstruction guidelines for submission .