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Discourse and institution in LIS

Author(s): Lennartsson, Claes

Journal: Svensk Biblioteksforskning
ISSN 0284-4354

Volume: 15;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Social constructionism | institution | discourse | interests | critical realism

This article explores the possibilities of integrating elements from institutional theory with discourse theory in the context of Library and Information Science (LIS), specifically in relation to an ongo-ing study of the Swedish national policies for adult education and film. It is maintained that both discourse theory and some ap-proaches within institutional theory share a social constructionist epistemology. As the work by Talja and Fairclough demonstrates, ideas of social institutions are inherent in discourse theory. How-ever, this article suggests that some approaches to institutional theory, especially those represented by March and Olsen, could enrich and improve the analytical value of the concept of institu-tion in discourse analysis. Further, the view on social interest and power relations proposed by Powell and DiMaggio (institutional theory), and Fairclough (discourse theory), represent an approach to social analysis that reintroduces a critical perspective to social analysis that is lost in some conceptions of social constructionism. This article suggests that this approach is justified in LIS and cul-tural policy analysis.
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