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The Laws of CoolKnowledge Work and the Culture of Information$
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Alan Liu

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226486987

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226487007.001.0001

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(p.385) Epilogue
The Laws of Cool

Alan Liu

University of Chicago Press

This Epilogue reflects on how the author of this book found a strange yet utterly familiar thing that he came to call the “ethos of the unknown” from which this book grew. The author wanted to believe that an individual could match the world of corporate knowledge work—at least enough to criticize it. The Epilogue criticizes post-industrialism from inside because—here and now, in this place and time—there is no transcendental outside. One must think a little like a corporation to engage with post-industrialism. The Epilogue also addresses the question of whether critique from inside the corporate knowledge structure is just another kind of cool irony, but no more than that. Finally, it states that literature will have a place in a new-media world otherwise dominated by the design, visual, and musical arts. But we do not yet know how to theorize what the eventual nature and position of that literature will be among the convergent data streams of the future.

Keywords:   ethos of the unknown, knowledge work, post-industrialism, cool, literature, arts

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