Free Knowledge: Confronting the Commodification of Human Discovery

Free Knowledge: Confronting the Commodification of Human Discovery

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Alarms are being sounded around the globe over the increasing commercialization of public knowledge for private profit. Whether you are a farmer, a university student, a medical patient, or a library user, these developments impact your daily life. 

Knowledge privatization holds growing sway over the choice of the foods you eat, the medicine you take, the software you use, the music you hear, and even the flowers you plant in your own backyard. This is the result of a world where plant seeds have become subject to patents, medical research is overseen by pharmaceutical giants, universities are beholden to corporate funders, and Indigenous knowledge is expropriated. 

The good news is that people are fighting back, working to create spaces where humanity's knowledge can be reclaimed and shared for the public good. Composed of fifteen essays from seventeen writers, ranging from academics to farmers to Indigenous knowledge keepers, Free Knowledge is a book on the front lines in the shared project of creating and protecting our Knowledge Commons.

Paperback available from University of Regina Press

Prologue: Free Knowledge, Seeds, and Other Beings - Brewster Kneen
Introduction - Patricia W. Elliott and Daryl H. Hepting

Knowledge for Profit:  The Commodificationof Education and Research

  • Higher Education or Education for Hire? Corporatization and the Threat to Democratic  Thinking - Joel Westheimer
  • Privatized Knowledge and the Pharmaceutical Industry - Sally Mahood
  • Pseudo-Evidence-Based Medicine: When Biomedical Research Becomes an Adjunct of Pharmaceutical Marketing - Arthur Schafer
  • The Privatization of Knowledge in Canada’s Universities and What We Should Do About It - Claire Polster

Knowledge for People: Examples of Alternative Praxis

  • The Canadian Co-operative Movement and the Promise of Knowledge Democracy - Mitch Diamantopoulos
  • Liberating Our Public Airwaves: Sounding Off! - Marian van der Zon
  • Action Research as Academic Reform:  The Challenges and Opportunities of Shared Knowledge - Patricia W. Elliott

Knowledge Sovereignty: Indigenous Resistances and Resiliencies

  • Indigenous Knowledge: A K’iche-Mayan Perspective - Leonzo Barreno
  • Gnaritas Nullius (No One’s Knowledge): The Essence of Traditional Knowledge and Its Colonization through Western Legal Regimes - Gregory Younging
  • Renegotiated Relationships and New Understandings: Indigenous Protocols - Jane Anderson and Gregory Younging

Reframing the Future: Emerging Ideas and Understandings

  • The Economics of Information in a Post-Carbon Economy - Joshua Farley and Ida Kubiszewski
  • Studying Abundance: Building a New Economics of Scarcity, Sufficiency, and Abundance - Roberto Verzola
  • Seeds, Soil, and Good Governance: A Message to Government - Doug Bone
  • Open Access to Scholarly Knowledge:  Thee New Commons - Heather Morrison

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  • cultural commons
  • Knowledge management
  • Social Science
  • Social Science / Media Studies


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