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

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Standard

Harvard

APA

CBE

MLA

Vancouver

Author

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Libraries, democracy, information literacy, and citizenship

T2 - Journal of Documentation

AU - Rivano Eckerdal, Johanna

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - PurposeThe 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/approachThe 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.FindingsWithin 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/valueThe 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.

AB - PurposeThe 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/approachThe 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.FindingsWithin 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/valueThe 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.

U2 - 10.1108/JD-12-2016-0152

DO - 10.1108/JD-12-2016-0152

M3 - Article

VL - 73

SP - 1010

EP - 1033

JO - Journal of Documentation

JF - Journal of Documentation

SN - 0022-0418

IS - 5

ER -