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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, October 25, 2005

Let The Complaining Begin!

First, to comment on Bridget's observation of Buschman's use of citations:

Stylistically, I don't think that he is doing a good job of integrating his source material with his own ideas. This is probably Katy as Compositionist coming out here, but it isn't always clear in Buschman's writing to whom certain ideas are attributed. This can lead to the illusion that some ideas/approaches are actually coming from him rather than those sources. It also means that when he is discussing multiple theorists, it becomes difficult to discern which author he is actually referencing. As a reader, I shouldn't have to keep flipping back to the endnotes to determine this. Also, I think that too often he lets others (those he references) speak for him. And he also isn't very critical of the sources he favors - more about that in my next point.


I want to preface this complaint by stating that it is NOT a defense of some of the extremes of post-modernism, but....

Why is it that when Buschman discusses the 'evils' of post-modernsim that he uses some of the most extreme examples of this type of thought? And, when he discusses Habermas, he says that we can't do what he is doing to post-modernists - he tells us that we need to consider x and y, despite z. Isn't this a bit contradictory and, to be honest, unfair? I sense a faulty use of logic in this method of argumentation. And I don't think that he reads Habermas as critically as he should - even someone embracing Habermas the way Buschman does needs to be a bit more reflective about the theoretical approach and its implications.


One of the biggest "ack!" moments of my rereading of this book occured on page 39 where Buschman conflates Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School. The Frankfurt School is one approach (or group of similar approaches) to the notion of critical theory. That, coupled with Buschman's statement that Critical Theory involves "pessimism of total domination of people and societies by capitalism" demonstrates his ignorance of varied approaches that might be termed Critical Theories.

I'm done for now, but I'm sure I'll find more to pick at later ;-)


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