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ERIC Number: EJ1087364
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1368-1613
Power Matters: Foucault's "Pouvoir/Savoir" as a Conceptual Lens in Information Research and Practice
Olsson, Michael; Heizmann, Helena
Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, v20 n4 Dec 2015
Introduction: This paper advocates Foucault's notion of pouvoir/savoir (power/knowledge) as a conceptual lens that information researchers might fruitfully use to develop a richer understanding of the relationship between knowledge and power. Methods: Three of the authors' earlier studies are employed to illustrate the use of this conceptual lens. Methodologically, the studies are closely related: they adopted a qualitative research design and made use of semi-structured and/or conversational, in-depth interviews as their primary method of data collection. The data were analysed using an inductive, discourse analytic approach. Analysis: The paper provides a brief introduction to Foucault's concept before examining the information practices of academic, professional and artistic communities. Through concrete empirical examples, the authors aim to demonstrate how a Foucauldian lens will provide a more in-depth understanding of how particular information practices exert authority in a discourse community while other such practices may be construed as ineffectual. Conclusion: The paper offers a radically different conceptual lens through which researchers can study information practices, not in individual or acultural terms but as a social construct, both a product and a generator of power/knowledge.
Thomas D. Wilson. 9 Broomfield Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2SE, UK. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A