Knowledge Society: Participation, Transparency, and Trust as Factors of Citizenship

Knowledge Society: Participation, Transparency, and Trust as Factors of Citizenship

Artur Parreira (Universidade Santa Úrsula, Brazil), Rui Duarte Moura (Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias de Lisboa, Portugal) and Ana Lorga da Silva (Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias de Lisboa, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8350-9.ch002

Abstract

This chapter is developed along three conceptual axes: citizenship; knowledge society: transparency; and trust and participation. It begins by explaining the concept of citizenship and its historical roots, the Greek polis and the Roman civitas; the revival of cities in the Late Middle Ages and their consolidation in the Modern Age. It analyzes the citizenship construct with the affirmation of each inhabitant as a citizen involved in improving the several plans of the quality of urban life. The second axis evaluates the characteristics of knowledge societies as promoting factors to a citizenship based on socio-political indicators that build trust between the citizen. The third axis deals with transparency and trust as active disseminators of timely and relevant information to the public and its impact on corruption, as a barrier against a broad citizenship. At the methodological level, the study combines bibliographic research with a field research by questionnaire.
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Introduction

The chapter addresses the concept of citizenship and its relation to other concepts currently under focus, namely human sustainability in its five major dimensions (environmental, economic, social, cultural and political), the knowledge society and its impact on individual behavior and the participation and intervention of citizens in political processes at various levels.

The concept of citizenship has been an important focus of reflection: this reflection begins in the Greek polis, especially with the worship of justice and the connection between the individual and community destiny, expressed by the philosopher Solon, which is the basis of the construction of the concept. Solon first established, objectively, the causal link between violation of law and disruption of social life (Jaeger, 2001). In Rome, where the situation was not very different from what was lived in Greece, the concept was more formal: Rome was a slave society, based on the 'gens' (patrician families), which held citizenship and political rights. The plebs, made up of non-noble and foreign Romans, did not fit any kind of juridically defined right; only in the third century BC, after long political conflicts, were created institutions proper to the plebeian population, such as the Tribunate and the Assembly of the Plebe (Cardoso, 1985). The period following the fall of the Roman Empire (V century) in the High Middle Ages saw the vertical fall of the meaning of citizenship inherited from Antiquity: the constant barbarian invasions made Europe a territory in which institutions and customs were confronted. worlds barbarian and roman. A peculiar type of social organization (nobility, clergy and serfs) arose, with a central concern: fidelity to the masters, as a guarantee of security.

The picture just began to change with the formation of national states, centralized, favoring the development of cities and, consequently, the classic notion of citizenship, linked to the granting of political rights associated with urban life. Thus, began a new relationship between politics, economy and society, nourished by the dynamism of the emerging mercantile capitalism and, later, by the religious reforms of the fifteenth century. These acquisitions were consolidated by the Enlightenment philosophers and materialized in the French Revolution and the American Constitution and today embody the multidimensional construct of citizenship: civil and political rights; rights and measures of a more social nature, linked to the world of work, education, health and housing (mainly carried out in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries); finally, the most universal idea of rights linked to the very sense of humanity, defended mainly in the last third of the twentieth century and, today, as objectives of sustainable development (ODS-ONU, 2015).

Another theme focused on the chapter is the journey towards a knowledge society, which will have an undoubted impact on the construction of citizenship, which will materialize in different behavioral contexts (Barker, 1968), but certainly no different from today's societies.

Knowledge societies are not a new thing: all human societies have focused on the acquisition of knowledge and derived technologies, to dominate their support context and guarantee their sustainability (Nhacuongue and Ferneda, 2012). What is new in knowledge societies is the systematic search for information and the evaluation of the impact of all decisions on the quality of life of society. This society systematically uses study and learning to increase the information component and proportionally reduce the material and energy components in the technologies it uses (Coutinho and Lisboa, 2011).

To use the technology properly, it is essential that users acquire competence. In this perspective, the educational level of the population is an important indicator of the capacity of society to use knowledge and demonstrate competence. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development report (OCDE, 2014) showed levels of schooling in member countries that could serve as a basis for a minimum indicative standard for entry into a knowledge-based society: 82% of the population in those countries with 25-34 years of age completed at least upper secondary education; 39% completed higher education. And he proposed the goal of 85% for high school by 2016 and 45% for higher education by 2018.

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