Knowledge is everything and nothing. This paradox marks the heart of debate over social change. For over fifty years, successive accounts have proclaimed the birth of a new era in which knowledge is paramount to a new kind of society. The names of eras are legion: ‘late capitalism’, ‘postmodernity’, ‘the information age’, among many others. The roll call of new societies is voluminous: ‘postindustrial society’ (Touraine 1971; Bell 1973), ‘information society’ (Masuda 1981), ‘knowledge society’ (Drucker 1969; Stehr 1994), ‘network society’ (Castells 2000), and so on. These countless proclamations of profound change differ in their choice of labels and the specific changes they emphasize. However, all foreground knowledge as reshaping every aspect of social life.