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Libraries, democracy, information literacy, and citizenship : An agonistic reading of central library and information studies’ concepts

Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna LU (2017) In Journal of Documentation 73(5). p.1010-1033
Abstract
Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advocate and contribute to a more nuanced and discerning argument when ascribing a democratic role to libraries and activities related to information literacy.
Design/methodology/approach

The connections between democracy and libraries as well as between citizenship and information literacy are analysed by using Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism. One example is provided by a recent legislative change (the new Swedish Library Act) and the documents preceding it. A second, more detailed example concerns how information literacy may be conceptualised when related to young women’s sexual and reproductive health. Crucial in both examples are the suggestions of routes to travel that... (More)
Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to advocate and contribute to a more nuanced and discerning argument when ascribing a democratic role to libraries and activities related to information literacy.
Design/methodology/approach

The connections between democracy and libraries as well as between citizenship and information literacy are analysed by using Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism. One example is provided by a recent legislative change (the new Swedish Library Act) and the documents preceding it. A second, more detailed example concerns how information literacy may be conceptualised when related to young women’s sexual and reproductive health. Crucial in both examples are the suggestions of routes to travel that support equality and inclusion for all.
Findings

Within an agonistic approach, democracy concerns equality and interest in making efforts to include the less privileged. The inclusion of a democratic aim, directed towards everyone, for libraries in the new Library Act can be argued to emphasise the political role of libraries. A liberal and a radical understanding of information literacy is elaborated, the latter is advocated. Information literacy is also analysed in a non-essentialist manner, as a description of a learning activity, therefore always value-laden.
Originality/value

The agonistic reading of two central concepts in library and information studies, namely, libraries and information literacy is fruitful and shows how the discipline may contribute to strengthen democracy in society both within institutions as libraries and in other settings. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Documentation
volume
73
issue
5
pages
1010 - 1033
publisher
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
external identifiers
  • scopus:85031117536
  • wos:000412874400013
ISSN
0022-0418
DOI
10.1108/JD-12-2016-0152
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0daf66e0-815f-4bc9-869e-82fcdac6d694
date added to LUP
2017-02-02 14:46:16
date last changed
2018-09-16 04:42:58
@article{0daf66e0-815f-4bc9-869e-82fcdac6d694,
  abstract     = {Purpose<br/><br/>The purpose of this paper is to advocate and contribute to a more nuanced and discerning argument when ascribing a democratic role to libraries and activities related to information literacy.<br/>Design/methodology/approach<br/><br/>The connections between democracy and libraries as well as between citizenship and information literacy are analysed by using Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism. One example is provided by a recent legislative change (the new Swedish Library Act) and the documents preceding it. A second, more detailed example concerns how information literacy may be conceptualised when related to young women’s sexual and reproductive health. Crucial in both examples are the suggestions of routes to travel that support equality and inclusion for all.<br/>Findings<br/><br/>Within an agonistic approach, democracy concerns equality and interest in making efforts to include the less privileged. The inclusion of a democratic aim, directed towards everyone, for libraries in the new Library Act can be argued to emphasise the political role of libraries. A liberal and a radical understanding of information literacy is elaborated, the latter is advocated. Information literacy is also analysed in a non-essentialist manner, as a description of a learning activity, therefore always value-laden.<br/>Originality/value<br/><br/>The agonistic reading of two central concepts in library and information studies, namely, libraries and information literacy is fruitful and shows how the discipline may contribute to strengthen democracy in society both within institutions as libraries and in other settings.},
  author       = {Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna},
  issn         = {0022-0418},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {1010--1033},
  publisher    = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  series       = {Journal of Documentation},
  title        = {Libraries, democracy, information literacy, and citizenship : An agonistic reading of central library and information studies’ concepts},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JD-12-2016-0152},
  volume       = {73},
  year         = {2017},
}