Knowledge Disembodied: From Paper to Digital Media

Author(s) Abdullah Ibrahim Omran
Contact Abdullah Ibrahim Omran, Indiana University, 107 S Indiana Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. E-mail:
Issue CyberOrient, Vol. 14, Iss. 1, 2020, pp. 72-95
Published June 30, 2020
Type Article
Abstract Print and digital media are believed to have shaken religious authority in the Muslim world, essentially because they popularize and pluralize Islamic knowledge. But how exactly did these novel technologies affect the nature of knowledge production and the behavior of scholars and the public? The pages that follow explore the historical relationship between technological developments and the production and transmission of knowledge over the course of Islamic history, commencing with the adoption of paper and concluding with the spread of digital media. A role-based approach is employed to reflect the gradual diminishment of the early methods of knowledge acquisition as “knowledge” came to be commodified according to the market logic of capitalism and subject to mass production and consumption via the technologies of print and electronic media. This approach reflects the interplay between knowledge producers, consumers, and communication mediums. The writer concludes that new media introduces new means of communication and contributes, along with other social, economic, and political factors, to the gradual disintegration of earlier forms of knowledge acquisitions.
Keywords media, knowledge production, scholars