July 17, 2006
Professional Reading: What is Critical Information Studies?
In Critical Information Studies: A Bibliographic Manifesto, New York University Prof Siva Vaidhyanathan defines Critical Information Studies as an emerging scholarly field that "interrogates the structures, functions, habits, norms, and practices that guide global flows of information and cultural elements. Instead of being concerned merely with one’s right to speak (or sing or publish), Critical Information Studies asks questions about access, costs, and chilling effects on, within, and among audiences, citizens, emerging cultural creators, indigenous cultural groups, teachers, and students. Central to these issues is the idea of “semiotic democracy,” or the ability of citizens to employ the signs and symbols ubiquitous in their environments in manners that they determine." (at 21).
From the SSRN Abstract:
Critical Information Studies (CIS) considers the ways that culture and information are regulated and their relationship to commerce, creativity, and other human affairs. CIS captures the variety of approaches and bodies of knowledge needed to make sense of interesting, important phenomena such as copyright policy, electronic voting, encryption, the state of libraries, the preservation of ancient cultural traditions, and markets for cultural production. It necessarily stretches to a wide array of scholarly subjects, employs multiple complementary methodologies, and influences conversations far beyond the gates of the university.
Professor Vaidhyanathan observes that "[t]his field can serve as a model for how engaged, relevant scholarship in other areas might be done. Economists, sociologists, linguists, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, communication scholars, lawyers, computer scientists, philosophers, and librarians have all contributed to this field." The essay includes an excellent bibliography. [JH]
July 17, 2006 | Permalink
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Hey, thanks for reading this.
Posted by: Siva Vaidhyanathan | Jul 19, 2006 8:51:39 AM