The « Great Standardization » and the Transformations of Knowledge in Techno-Scientific Societies

By Jean-Claude Ruano-Borbalan

The article shows, for the last two centuries, the growth and spread of education and training, techno-science and development of mass-media. It underlines, for the last half century, the advent of a new regime of scientific and knowledge production, related to schooling, generalization of mass communication and networks. The standardization of knowledge nowadays integrates skills, competencies and behaviors (key competencies, transfer of economic valuable knowledge). As a counterpart, one sees the development of discourses that promote creativity and individual identity. Those discourses, initialized and promoted by marketing for about a century, are part of a non-intentional enchanting strategy that avoid and mask the standardization of technics and the rationalization of knowledge for economic production or state administration purposes. The contemporary period is characterized by the combination (and the tension) between those discourses promoting creativity and innovation on the one hand, and standardization and rationalization of knowledge, information and economic production on the other hand.


  • standardization
  • knowledge society
  • science
  • education
  • institutions
  • economic history
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