Applying Bourdieu’s Field Theory to MLS Curricula Development

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Our research question is: How can adequate education in Library and Information Science be provided for subject specialists in research libraries under constant change?

Research libraries may be one of the places where imprints of the transition from industrial society to knowledge society are most evident. In order to keep up, the library profession has had to incorporate numerous new disciplines and has become a highly specialized area with its own Ph.D. program. But while developing the curricula within the discipline of library and information science (LIS), the training programs for the subject specialists of the research libraries tend to have been neglected in Denmark.

Until the turn of the millennium, a subject specialist in a Danish research library would typically start their career by applying for a vacancy in connection with a subject specialist’s MA or Ph.D. specialization. This is illustrated in the value compass below:
◾Specialist Theorist
◾Practitioner Generalist

The vertical axis reflects the anticipated level of education in relation to handling different functions within the library. The horizontal axis reflects the degree of idealism vis a vis pragmatism in relation to handling the tasks in the library. The hypothesis is that the subject specialist previously found him or herself in the upper part of the compass, while the librarians would be placed in the lower part. Obviously, this created a field of tension between the subject specialists and the librarians.

A useful tool in understanding and explaining fields of tension is Bourdieu’s Field Theory. It explains the structures in a given social world (i.e. a library), including the power struggles inside: These struggles are about how to obtain the positions that give the most prestige. No field is ever static since struggles for the power to decide exactly what is associated with power and what is not persist. With the upgrading of LIS the librarians have moved upwards on the vertical axis and thereby challenge the subject specialist’s position. At the same time developments within the academic world have brought about an undermining of the role of the subject specialists.

And as the research libraries are in a rapid state of flux, it is no longer clear which positions provide maximum prestige in a modern research library. Therefore, we do not think that a single streamlined educational offer is the answer to our research question. Instead the point is that today’s competence needs are individualized.

Taking this into account University Library of Southern Denmark has begun collaboration with The Department of Design and Communication at University of Southern Denmark, and The Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS). We have developed a curriculum for a flexible Master’s program, where the students compose an individual portfolio. The first students will enroll in the autumn 2017. In our paper, we will discuss the applicability of field theory to Library and Information Science curricula development in more depth and will present our curricula in more depth to illustrate our points.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date5. Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5. Jul 2017
Event46th Annual LIBER Conference: Libraries Powering Sustainable Knowledge in the Digital Age - Patras, Greece
Duration: 5. Jul 20177. Jul 2017
Conference number: 46
http://liber2017.lis.upatras.gr/

Conference

Conference46th Annual LIBER Conference
Number46
CountryGreece
CityPatras
Period05/07/201707/07/2017
Internet address

Cite this

Wien, C., & Dorch, B. F. (2017). Applying Bourdieu’s Field Theory to MLS Curricula Development. Abstract from 46th Annual LIBER Conference, Patras, Greece.
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abstract = "Our research question is: How can adequate education in Library and Information Science be provided for subject specialists in research libraries under constant change?Research libraries may be one of the places where imprints of the transition from industrial society to knowledge society are most evident. In order to keep up, the library profession has had to incorporate numerous new disciplines and has become a highly specialized area with its own Ph.D. program. But while developing the curricula within the discipline of library and information science (LIS), the training programs for the subject specialists of the research libraries tend to have been neglected in Denmark.Until the turn of the millennium, a subject specialist in a Danish research library would typically start their career by applying for a vacancy in connection with a subject specialist’s MA or Ph.D. specialization. This is illustrated in the value compass below:◾Specialist Theorist◾Practitioner GeneralistThe vertical axis reflects the anticipated level of education in relation to handling different functions within the library. The horizontal axis reflects the degree of idealism vis a vis pragmatism in relation to handling the tasks in the library. The hypothesis is that the subject specialist previously found him or herself in the upper part of the compass, while the librarians would be placed in the lower part. Obviously, this created a field of tension between the subject specialists and the librarians.A useful tool in understanding and explaining fields of tension is Bourdieu’s Field Theory. It explains the structures in a given social world (i.e. a library), including the power struggles inside: These struggles are about how to obtain the positions that give the most prestige. No field is ever static since struggles for the power to decide exactly what is associated with power and what is not persist. With the upgrading of LIS the librarians have moved upwards on the vertical axis and thereby challenge the subject specialist’s position. At the same time developments within the academic world have brought about an undermining of the role of the subject specialists.And as the research libraries are in a rapid state of flux, it is no longer clear which positions provide maximum prestige in a modern research library. Therefore, we do not think that a single streamlined educational offer is the answer to our research question. Instead the point is that today’s competence needs are individualized.Taking this into account University Library of Southern Denmark has begun collaboration with The Department of Design and Communication at University of Southern Denmark, and The Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS). We have developed a curriculum for a flexible Master’s program, where the students compose an individual portfolio. The first students will enroll in the autumn 2017. In our paper, we will discuss the applicability of field theory to Library and Information Science curricula development in more depth and will present our curricula in more depth to illustrate our points.",
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Wien, C & Dorch, BF 2017, 'Applying Bourdieu’s Field Theory to MLS Curricula Development', 46th Annual LIBER Conference, Patras, Greece, 05/07/2017 - 07/07/2017.

Applying Bourdieu’s Field Theory to MLS Curricula Development. / Wien, Charlotte; Dorch, Bertil F.

2017. Abstract from 46th Annual LIBER Conference, Patras, Greece.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Applying Bourdieu’s Field Theory to MLS Curricula Development

AU - Wien, Charlotte

AU - Dorch, Bertil F.

PY - 2017/7/5

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N2 - Our research question is: How can adequate education in Library and Information Science be provided for subject specialists in research libraries under constant change?Research libraries may be one of the places where imprints of the transition from industrial society to knowledge society are most evident. In order to keep up, the library profession has had to incorporate numerous new disciplines and has become a highly specialized area with its own Ph.D. program. But while developing the curricula within the discipline of library and information science (LIS), the training programs for the subject specialists of the research libraries tend to have been neglected in Denmark.Until the turn of the millennium, a subject specialist in a Danish research library would typically start their career by applying for a vacancy in connection with a subject specialist’s MA or Ph.D. specialization. This is illustrated in the value compass below:◾Specialist Theorist◾Practitioner GeneralistThe vertical axis reflects the anticipated level of education in relation to handling different functions within the library. The horizontal axis reflects the degree of idealism vis a vis pragmatism in relation to handling the tasks in the library. The hypothesis is that the subject specialist previously found him or herself in the upper part of the compass, while the librarians would be placed in the lower part. Obviously, this created a field of tension between the subject specialists and the librarians.A useful tool in understanding and explaining fields of tension is Bourdieu’s Field Theory. It explains the structures in a given social world (i.e. a library), including the power struggles inside: These struggles are about how to obtain the positions that give the most prestige. No field is ever static since struggles for the power to decide exactly what is associated with power and what is not persist. With the upgrading of LIS the librarians have moved upwards on the vertical axis and thereby challenge the subject specialist’s position. At the same time developments within the academic world have brought about an undermining of the role of the subject specialists.And as the research libraries are in a rapid state of flux, it is no longer clear which positions provide maximum prestige in a modern research library. Therefore, we do not think that a single streamlined educational offer is the answer to our research question. Instead the point is that today’s competence needs are individualized.Taking this into account University Library of Southern Denmark has begun collaboration with The Department of Design and Communication at University of Southern Denmark, and The Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS). We have developed a curriculum for a flexible Master’s program, where the students compose an individual portfolio. The first students will enroll in the autumn 2017. In our paper, we will discuss the applicability of field theory to Library and Information Science curricula development in more depth and will present our curricula in more depth to illustrate our points.

AB - Our research question is: How can adequate education in Library and Information Science be provided for subject specialists in research libraries under constant change?Research libraries may be one of the places where imprints of the transition from industrial society to knowledge society are most evident. In order to keep up, the library profession has had to incorporate numerous new disciplines and has become a highly specialized area with its own Ph.D. program. But while developing the curricula within the discipline of library and information science (LIS), the training programs for the subject specialists of the research libraries tend to have been neglected in Denmark.Until the turn of the millennium, a subject specialist in a Danish research library would typically start their career by applying for a vacancy in connection with a subject specialist’s MA or Ph.D. specialization. This is illustrated in the value compass below:◾Specialist Theorist◾Practitioner GeneralistThe vertical axis reflects the anticipated level of education in relation to handling different functions within the library. The horizontal axis reflects the degree of idealism vis a vis pragmatism in relation to handling the tasks in the library. The hypothesis is that the subject specialist previously found him or herself in the upper part of the compass, while the librarians would be placed in the lower part. Obviously, this created a field of tension between the subject specialists and the librarians.A useful tool in understanding and explaining fields of tension is Bourdieu’s Field Theory. It explains the structures in a given social world (i.e. a library), including the power struggles inside: These struggles are about how to obtain the positions that give the most prestige. No field is ever static since struggles for the power to decide exactly what is associated with power and what is not persist. With the upgrading of LIS the librarians have moved upwards on the vertical axis and thereby challenge the subject specialist’s position. At the same time developments within the academic world have brought about an undermining of the role of the subject specialists.And as the research libraries are in a rapid state of flux, it is no longer clear which positions provide maximum prestige in a modern research library. Therefore, we do not think that a single streamlined educational offer is the answer to our research question. Instead the point is that today’s competence needs are individualized.Taking this into account University Library of Southern Denmark has begun collaboration with The Department of Design and Communication at University of Southern Denmark, and The Royal School of Library and Information Science (RSLIS). We have developed a curriculum for a flexible Master’s program, where the students compose an individual portfolio. The first students will enroll in the autumn 2017. In our paper, we will discuss the applicability of field theory to Library and Information Science curricula development in more depth and will present our curricula in more depth to illustrate our points.

M3 - Conference abstract for conference

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Wien C, Dorch BF. Applying Bourdieu’s Field Theory to MLS Curricula Development. 2017. Abstract from 46th Annual LIBER Conference, Patras, Greece.