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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Theoretical Approaches

Harris, in his response to Fain, brings up the notion of interpretive frameworks, and the ways in which his and Garrison's differ. When I read this, it reminded me of Wiegand's use of Foucault's idea of 'discursive formations' in the essay from week one. (I told myself that I was going to avoid the "F" word in this class, but there it is). How might we use the works of theorists such as Foucault, Bordieu, Gramsci, Althusser, or whomever else we might think of, to approach library history?

Would such an approach be considered appropriate by those who seek "accountability"? Or would Williams' charts be more gladly received by the accountability police?

Is there room for both? How might such a project look?

Do LIS scholars prefer one mode over the other? This is jumping ahead, but when I read Bushman last year, I was annoyed early on in the text when he writes that people in LIS really don't read Foucault and Haberman, resulting in the need for him (Buschman) to tell us all why they are important/useful. Is this really the case? I was a little insulted because I have read multiple texts by both. However, in my other program it is expected that we know them and that we know them well. I know people who, for Halloween, have actually dressed up as Discipline and Punishment. So maybe we go a little overboard. What do you think?


Blogger Soojin Park said...

Even though I cannot generalize my experience to the whole LIS academia, I was trained to use sociology, organization and economic theories for research papers last first year. We discussed Gidden's struturation theory, Latour's network theory, Scott's organization theory, and so on. In order to approach library history, like you, I'd like to know what kinds of theories can be useful and proper for my final project (not decided yet).

For designing research, there are some different ways. For instance, we can use certain paradigm and theories as a research framework which provides fundamental perspectives to analyze and interpret research phenomena. In other words, we can research deductively.

On the other hand, we also can conduct research inductively. We use data in research in order to reach academic framework for understanding phenomina surrounding us.

I think anyway will be fine.

About the Buschman's argument(in fact, I don't read him), I'd like to think about the issue in the context of LIS's academic history. As a discipline, LIS has been based on practices in the library field. The academic background of LIS is different other social science and humanities, such as economics, literature, sociology, etc. Does this affect the LIS research tradition? For this question, we need to prove his argument first.

10:58 AM  

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