The public sphere and Habermas: Reflections on the current state of theory in public library research
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataVis full innførsel
OriginalversjonLarsen H. The public sphere and Habermas: Reflections on the current state of theory in public library research. Journal of Documentation. 2020 https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-05-2020-0075
Purpose: This article addresses a recent debate in this journal between Buschman and Widdersheim and Koizumi on public libraries and public sphere theory in library and information science (LIS). The article moves beyond the debate as the debate has been too focused on the theories of Jürgen Habermas. In order to really understand the democratic mission of public libraries and how it is related to the public sphere, the author argues that LIS scholars need to look beyond Habermas’ theories of the public sphere. Design/methodology/approach: This is a theoretical article that discusses different theories of the public sphere, and how they have been and can be applied in library and information science. Findings: The author finds that a main disagreement between Buschman and Widdersheim and Koizumi is whether one can use the concept of a public sphere without doing it in a “traditional” habermasian way. The answers put forward in this article, is that we can and should look beyond Habermas’ work when seeking to understand the role of public libraries as public spheres. Originality: The article puts forward theories that are not commonly used in LIS, and advocates for broadening the theoretical scope of LIS scholars studying the relations between public libraries and public spheres.