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The Knowledge Economy, Language and Culture Author: Glyn Williams

Paperback - 264 pages
24 Mar 2010
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156 (R8vo)


The world is being reshaped by fundamental changes deriving from globalisation and the shift from modernity to late modernity. At the heart of these changes is the knowledge economy. Work in the knowledge economy operates quite differently than in the industrial economy in that it is highly dependent on communication and language. This book considers how language and culture are relevant to the practices of the knowledge economy while also considering how the broader changes obliges us to reconsider the nature of language.


This is another important and highly contemporary contribution by Glyn Williams. Noted for his considerable originality and independence of viewpoint, the book is remarkably interdisciplinary, with understandings from economics, sociology, philosophy, business and sociolinguistics. It attacks issues of major current importance: the future knowledge-based economy, globalisation, and the use of technology for information exchange. The book contains critical appreciation and historical analysis but is also a very modern and highly constructive approach to the knowledge economy, and to the future of language. This is Williams’ best book from several decades of publishing.
Colin Baker, University of Bangor, Wales

Williams’s latest book offers a thoughtful, original and often provocative interpretation of the mutual relationships between the linguistic, the political, the social and the economic. The line of argument weaves together notions that are all too often considered in isolation, and this book can be recommended to advanced students and specialists of language policy and the politics of language who seek access to the big picture, along with wide-ranging scholarship and genuine intellectual engagement.
François Grin, University of Geneva, Switzerland

In this book, Williams sets out to provide an account of the role played by culture and language in the workplace practices and labour relations of the knowledge economy. Weaving together themes from industrial sociology, management studies, philosophy of science, linguistics and social theory, he builds an argument focused on parallel changes in the social, economic and academic domains: from a modernity centred on the nation-state to a reflexive modemity centred on selfcreated identity; from an industrial Taylorist economy to a flexible knowledge economy; and from humanist, rationalist theoretical interpretations of human agency to a decentred post-structuralist model of social practice. There can be no doubt that Williams lays down a worthy and ambitious project, especially since engagement with language use in organisational settings remains relatively marginal within discourse-analytic research.
AIon Lischinsky, Umea Universitet, Sweden in Lang Policy (2011) 10:111-113

Author Biography:

Formerly Research Professor at University Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Glyn Williams has also worked at the University of San Francisco, the University of Bangor, University of Cardiff, and University College Dublin. A sociologist, he has written 14 books and over a hundred papers on a variety of topics including language and society, regional development, ethnicity, media and technology.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate Research / Professional

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