Opening the Book: (From the Closed to the Open Text)

By Michael A. Peters.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There has been a great deal of speculative eschatology around the book— the end of the book, the end of print culture, and the demise of the author as well as a kind of messianic heralding of the new age of the screen, universal access to information and learning, and commons-based cultural production. This paper begins by investigating the theology of the book before discussing one aspect of the new messianism about e-texts that I have simply called ‘openness’—what I allude to by ‘Opening the Book’. I do so, first, by foregrounding the concept of the open society as discussed by Henri Bergson and then by Karl Popper; second, by tracing the growth of the Open Access movement as a reaction against the economics of publishing; and third, by entertaining the concept of open knowledge production systems that in my view will not mean the ‘end of the book’ but its radical subsumption in a new electronic textual system that will involve a set of changes in all aspects of the ‘culture of the book’ including all phases of its creation, production and consumption as well as its practices and institutions of reading and writing.

Keywords: e-Texts, Openness, End of Book

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.77-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 567.985KB).

Prof. Michael A. Peters

Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, Chicago, IL, USA

He held a chair as research professor and professor of education at the University of Glasgow (2000-2005) and a personal chair at the University of Auckland as well as positions as adjunct professor of education at the University of Auckland and adjunct professor of communication studies at the Auckland University of Technology. He is the editor of three international journals: Educational Philosophy and Theory; Policy Futures in Education; and, E-Learning. He is the author or editor of over forty books, including most recently Knowledge Economy, Development and the Future of Higher Education (Sense, 2007), Subjectivity and Truth: Foucault, Education and the Culture of the Self (Peter Lang, 2007), Building Knowledge Cultures (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), Why Foucault? New Directions in Educational Research (Peter Lang, 2006), and Edutopias: New Utopian Thinking in Education (Sense, 2006), Deconstructing Derrida: Tasks for the New Humanities (Palgrave, 2005).


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