Knowledge Construction

Shifting relations between knowledge producers and users 

Examples of Research Activities

The central role of mediation and the shifting relations between knowledge producers and users in the knowledge construction process is addressed in a variety of ways.  

Nick Couldry led from January 2010 to June 2013, while at Goldsmiths, the Storycircle research project within the UK Digital Economy programme as part of the FIRM consortium. This project investigated the relationship between digital infrastructures and narrative exchange across five streams of action research (with two schools/colleges, a community club, a community reporters organization and a local tenants association, based in the North West of England). From these projects, a number of publications are being prepared on the use of digital platforms in supporting and validating new forms of knowledge and expertise.

The construction of knowledge paradigms and power relations between producers and users is examined by Sonia Livingstone in her work on the role of the participation paradigm in audience research with a focus on literacies and in her critical reflections on the concept of the public sphere in research in the media studies field. 

Terhi Rantanen’s work has critically examined the systems approach which are often used in comparative media studies of the relationship between the media and politics. In the case of Central and Eastern Europe she shows the importance of taking account of the different components of methodological systemisation.

Robin Mansell’s work on conflicting knowledge paradigms is reflected in her research on how different disciplinary traditions in the social sciences conceive of the Internet, how this influences the research questions that are considered important, and the way power relationships are conceived among producers and users of digital technologies and applications. Her research also examines the discourses employed by stakeholders in their efforts to promote information or knowledge societies.

Focusing on the role of power and interests in framing the implications of innovative information and communication technologies, Robin Mansell brings a critical perspective to analysis of the implications information society policy and practice for inclusion and effective participation by disadvantaged groups in society. Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies (TIPPI) is examining these questions empirically focusing on crowdsourcing and online applications in the health sector.

Shakuntala Banaji’s work offers critical approaches to pedagogy, communication and development highlighting politically innovative education projects in the global North and South and tensions between popular and elite media and internet cultures. She has examined the way social media such as YouTube contribute to everyday racism and the construction of emotions, civic performance and learning. She is collaborating with Internews on the needs and circumstances of children and teenagers in India for a series of media development trainings in relation to Child Rights in media in India, Brazil and Kenya.

Wendy Willems’ work demonstrates how much of research on African media is undertaken through a normative lens of liberal-democratic media-state relations in Western countries. She brings a critical perspective to the study of media, communication and development drawing on critical/cultural studies with the aim deconstructing mainstream approaches.

Alison Powell’s work extends research on alternative knowledge paradigms concerned with the production of open source knowledge beyond software.

Focusing on the accumulation of scholarly knowledge, Paolo Dini’s work has tackled many of the difficult problems of interdisciplinarity across the social and computing sciences.  This work has been applied specifically to the analysis of the knowledge base that informs thinking about the financial crisis and resistance to establishing trust through the development of community currencies.

Ofra Koffman’s research critically considers shifting paradigms of development policy, focusing on contemporary thinking on adolescent girls. She examined the role of new media in changing relations between policy makers and Western publics, who are increasingly invited to participate in advocating for specific humanitarian and development causes.


We were active participants in the Information Knowledge Management - Emergent  (IKM-E) network funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we took a leading role in the EC funded OPAALS – Open Philosophies for Associative Autopoietic Digital Ecosystems Network of Excellence.