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ERIC Number: EJ1044680
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: EISSN-1368-1613
The Public Library, Democracy and Rancière's Poetics of Politics
Huzar, Timothy Jozef
Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, v18 n3 suppl Sep 2013
Introduction: This paper applies the thought of Jacques Rancière to the concept of democracy as it is traditionally understood in library studies literature. Methods: The paper reviews a cross-section of instances of the link between democracy and the public library in library studies literature. It offers a close textual analysis of Michael Gorman's "Our Enduring Values" as typifying the link between the public library and democracy. It critically applies the theoretical account of democracy developed by Jacques Rancière to Gorman's account in "Our Enduring Values." Analysis: Making use of the theory of Rancière, the paper argues that the link between the public library and democracy should instead be situated in the impropriety of the public library: the assumption of equality libraries make, and the consequent open possibility for the contestation of their function and values. Results: The paper finds that the link between democracy and the public library is situated in libraries' instrumental value to democracy; libraries are typically seen as holding an educative function for democracy. Conclusion: The paper concludes by arguing that focusing on the impropriety of public libraries is especially important in the context of their current neo-liberal restructuring. An instrumental link between democracy and the public library too easily falls prey to neo-liberal rationalisation. A link which focuses on the improper character of public libraries encourages a contestation over this restructuring. [This paper was published as part of: Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark, 19-22 August, 2013.]
Thomas D. Wilson. 9 Broomfield Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2SE, UK. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A