Thursday, November 27, 2008

Authority, canons and taste cultures

One of the skills we have been discussing in class is the ability to locate and evalate information, and arising out of this has been a number of comments on a necessary ability to locate authoritative texts, hidden as they are amongst amateur opinions and personal accounts.

However I think we need to go beyond this to develop in our students a critical attitude to knowledge in general, to let them learn that knowledge is constructed and can be contested, whether it appears in Nature or on a 6th grade class wiki.

One of the significant impacts that the internet has had on the academy is to challenge the notion of 'expertise' and the social designation of experts.

For example, in Jonathan Lupo's dissertation on contemporary film criticism, he analyses how the internet has enabled a new generation of non-professional film fan-critics to challenge professional critical hierarchies, and undermine the authority of academic critics and journalistic reviewers.

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