Dr Dominic Hewson to Deliver Paper on Knowledge and Governance

Dr Dominic Hewson to Deliver Paper on Knowledge and Governance

Dr Dominic Hewson will deliver the second paper in the Department of Sociology's Seminar Series, entitled 'From Atoms to Algorithms: A Brief History of Modern Knowledge and Governance', to be held jointly online and on campus on November 17.

In the paper, Dr Hewson explores the development of modern knowledge and its relationship to the aspirations and strategies of governance via an epistemic analysis that separates the modern era into three overlapping periods: Atomistic, Mechanistic and Organic.

Examining a 400 year period, the study investigates the ways in which ontology, technology and our sense of self have interacted with and informed modern governance.

The dawning of this Dataistic Episteme and the modes of governance it brings can be interpreted as heralding a return to the modern dream of perpetual progress, or harbingers of an inescapable panoptic dystopia   

Moving through the three eras, Dr Hewson will reflect on questions such as, 'Who are we?', 'What is our relationship to reality, our environment and each other?', and 'How, and to what ends, are we to be governed?'.

The paper is part of his forthcoming book, From Atoms to Algorithms: The Past, Present and Future of Modern Knowledge and Governance, which addresses the relationship between modern forms of knowledge, technology and governance. 

Looking first to the past to document the ways in which developing forms of knowledge in the modern era have shaped, and been shaped by, the aspirations and strategies of government, it then approaches the present, making the case that the Organic forms of knowledge that have informed four decades of neoliberal hegemony are now being challenged by new conceptions of who we are and how and to what ends we might be governed. 

Finally, arriving in the future, it explores how these new conceptions are derived from and reliant upon the escalating production of information and the new ways in which this information is being deployed to determine our conduct and our goals.

The Sociology Seminar Series will be taking place online and in KCG7 in Kings College, on campus, between 3:30 and 5:00 p.m.. To obtain the link to attend online, please contact Dr Luisa Gandolfo.

For more details on upcoming talks in the series, visit the Sociology Seminar Series page, here.

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