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The fourth industrial revolution (4th IR): a theoretical critique of the discourse

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dc.date.accessioned 2020-05-13 en
dc.date.accessioned 2020-05-18T13:15:10Z
dc.date.available 2020-05-18T13:15:10Z
dc.date.issued 2020-05-18 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/15303
dc.description Paper presented at the South African Sociological Association Annual Congress, Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria, 15-17 July en
dc.description.abstract Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR) is today's buzzword around the world. In almost every space, be it in intellectual seminars, corridor conversations, corporate boardrooms, at conferences, in parliaments; no discussion ends without a mention of this word. It has been championed by Klaus Schwab, who during his presentation at the 2015 World Economic Forum (WEF) argued that the 4th IR will fundamentally alter the world, and thus warrants strategic responses to both optimise the opportunities it presents as well as guarding against its likely undesirable consequences for humanity. This article advances a theoretical critique of this discourse as popularised by Schwab and his adherents. This critique rests on theoretical frameworks that were used to explicate past major historical transitions, specifically transition from feudalism to industrial capitalism. Exposing serious theoretical shortfalls within the 4th IR discourse, I conclude that the claims made about it and its likely impact on societies are less convincing as they fail to provide a comprehensive account of the nature of changes i.e. whether they signify a social system that is radically different from the pre-existing one or simply innovations within the present system, and the factors behind them (a technologically determinist account that characterise the discourse is clearly inadequate). I propose that for a better account and grasp of the evident technological innovations witnessed today and wrongfully termed the forth industrial revolution, which should inform strategic responses thereto; an in-depth qualitative analysis located within the context of long wave theories of change is necessary. Such analysis would enable us to address, as I argue in this article, a range of important and relevant questions such as: whether or not there are any continuities or complete break with the pre-existing social order?, and the underlying set of factors and not just a single factor influencing change. en
dc.format.medium Print en
dc.subject FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (4IR) en
dc.title The fourth industrial revolution (4th IR): a theoretical critique of the discourse en
dc.type Conference or seminar papers en
dc.ProjectNumber N/A en
dc.BudgetYear 2019/20 en
dc.ResearchGroup Education and Skills Development en
dc.ArchiveNumber 11380 en
dc.URL http://ktree.hsrc.ac.za/doc_read_all.php?docid=22755 en
dc.outputnumber 10522 en
dc.bibliographictitle Mapadimeng, M.S. (2019) The fourth industrial revolution (4th IR): a theoretical critique of the discourse. (Paper presented at the South African Sociological Association Annual Congress, Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria, 15-17 July). en
dc.publicationyear 2019 en
dc.contributor.author1 Mapadimeng, M.S. en


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