Knowledge and Power 1

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Carolin Emcke in discussion with Bethany Wiggin (Professor of Environmental Humanities and Co-founder of DataRefuge) and Ulf Buermeyer (Chairman of the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte) (in German)

Streitraum 2017/18: »Knowledge and Power«

For a long time it was an accepted truism that whoever possesses knowledge and education also possesses power and status. Conversely, access to knowledge and education was held to be a form of redistribution and a way out of powerlessness. »Streitraum« 2017/18 wants to investigate what remains of these assumptions today. For, obviously, very different confi gurations also apply: with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump it would appear that ignorance (or even downright lying) is astonishingly powerful. The explicit anti-intellectualism of various populist movements pursues a systematic attack on institutions of knowledge transfer such as universities, cultural foundations and the theatre. In a time when digital media facilitate access to knowledge faster and broader than ever before, they are only one of the areas of confl ict where knowledge and ignorance, as well as power and powerlessness, are being negotiated. How unequal or unfair is the distribution of knowledge? What are the root causes of the lack of social mobility in a society? How do radical political movements and networks, but also authoritarian, chauvinistic regimes, succeed so powerfully in propagating and orchestrating their ideologies and crimes? Which technological and aesthetic counter-strategies can be utilised against the dissemination of lies, defamation and hate? Are violent confl icts increasingly shifting into the sphere of cyber-warfare? And what does that mean for the ability to criticise them? In the 2017/18 season »Streitraum« wants to place these very different phenomena in the spotlight: the social issue of inequality as well as questions about authoritarian regimes and the »invisibles« in society – and the types of power arrangements they create.