Knowledge Construction



Knowledge Construction -the process whereby information from a given source is deemed objective/neutral and thus legitimized by people.  Deeming information objective is difficult from both philosophical and scientific standpoints [see Objective (science) and Objective (philosophy)].  However, humans have relied on this process to define information as knowledge.

            Historically, Western societies have gone through many shifts in which sources of information have been legitimized and thus constructed as knowledge.  The Enlightenment era in particular, started a time when rational (see rationalism) knowledge was privileged over all other types of knowledge in the West (Marx, 1993).

            Strega (2005) contends that modernism (as another term for Enlightenment epistemology) includes “the notion that knowledge can be (and is if the rules are followed) objective, impartial, innocent in intention and effect and neutrally discovered; that there is only one true method by which knowledge is acquired; and that knowledge can be discovered by a rational subject who is distanced from its object of investigation and who can separate herself or himself from emotions, personal self-interests, and political values in creating innocent knowledge” (p.204).

            As knowledge is constructed in this way, ‘neutrality’ has been also considered universal.  Nandy (1979) argues that Western knowledge has dominated and marginalized other sources of knowledge through Enlightenment, Colonialism, and Industrial Revolution (p.374)


Language and Knowledge Construction-Further controversy over the objectivity of knowledge construction is outlined in Postman’s (1992) discussion of language.  Language is a tool that humans use to construct knowledge.  Postman states that in its use and social implications, language is highly politicized and powerful (p.84).  Language, although used as a tool for constructing knowledge cannot be viewed as neutral.


Medium and Knowledge Construction-Another concept involved in knowledge construction is the medium through which knowledge is produced and consumed.  Wikipedia is an example of such a medium as it is a collection of information being publicly presented.  McLuhan (1969) argues that the medium is critical to how information is processed thus altering the information itself.  Applied to the construction of knowledge, this contention implies that the construction process is influenced by the mediums used to gather/present knowledge.





McLuhan,M. (1969). Excepts from Counterblast and The Medium is the Message.

             McLelland and Stewart: Toronto.



Nandy, A. (1979). The traditions of technology, in W. Morehouse (ed.). Science,

             Technology and the Social Order, Transaction Books: New Brunswick.


Postman, N. (1992). Invisible technologies in N. Postman, Technopoly, Knopf,

             New York.


Strega, S. (2005). The view from the post-structural margins: Epistemology and

Methodology reconsidered. In L. Brown & S. Strega (Eds.), Research as Resistance (pp. 199-236). Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.