Liberating Interdisciplinarity from Myth: An Exploration of the Discursive Construction of Identities in Information Studies

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    Abstract

    Recent research in information studies suggests that the tradition of seeing the discipline as weak is still alive and kicking. This is a problem because the discourse of the weak discipline creates conceptual confusion in relation to interdisciplinarity. Considering the growth of the iSchools and what is assumed to be a major institutional redrawing of boundaries, there is a pressing need to conceptualize interdisciplinary practices and boundary work. This paper explores the “weak” discipline through a discourse analytical lens and identifies a myth. Perceiving the discipline as weak is part of a myth, fueled by the ideal of a unitary discipline; the ideal discipline has strong boundaries, and as long as the discourse continues to focus on a need for boundaries, the only available discourse is one that articulates the discipline as weak. Thus, the myth is a vicious circle that can be broken if weakness is no longer ascribed to the discipline by tradition. The paper offers an explanation of the workings of the myth so that its particular way of interpreting the world does not mislead us when theorizing interdisciplinarity. This is a conceptual paper, and the examples serve as an empirical backdrop to the conceptual argument.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
    Volume67
    Issue number11
    Pages (from-to)2697–2709
    Number of pages13
    ISSN2330-1643
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

    Keywords

    • Interdisciplinarity
    • Information science
    • Sociology

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