Towards an Understanding of Symbolic Aspects of Professional Information: An Analysis of the Nursing Knowledge Domain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this article is to contribute to the development of the domain analytical approach by using tools from
the theory of professions. This is accomplished by showing how the symbolic values of professional information can create, sustain, and alter professional interests, power relations, and occupational identities. By taking this approach, the importance of considering the issues of power and knowledge use as a social practice is highlighted – two themes that only to a certain extent have been attended to within domain analysis. The aim is accomplished through a study of nursing literature that reveals how professional information is regarded within the Swedish nursing profession. These are analyzed in relation to changes and development within the profession’s applied knowledge domain over time. It is argued that the knowledge domain of nursing has shifted from a primarily practical orientation towards an increasingly theoretical orientation. Its previous subordination to medical expertise has been replaced by an aspiration towards professional autonomy. This shift is seen as a result of a professional strategy where the specialist literature, libraries and databases of the occupational community play an important symbolic role.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
  • University of Borås
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Information Studies


  • Knowledge, Nursing, Professional Information, Domain Analysis, Theories of Professions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-194
JournalKnowledge Organization
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch