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Information technology and interests in scholarly communication: a discourse analysis

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, NY, USA
Publication Date
  • Lz. None Of These
  • But In This Section.
  • Bg. Information Dissemination And Diffusion.
  • Communication
  • Linguistics


Although technological determinism is an inadequate description of change, it remains common, if implicit, in much information science literature. Recent developments in science and technology studies offer a social constructivist alternative, in which technology is seen, not as autonomous, but as the result of interests. However, the stability of these interests can be argued to privilege social factors in the same way as technological determinism privileges technological factors. A second alternative is to shift to a relativist stance and analyse discourse as interaction, rather than as a neutral carrier of information, or communication. The focus of the discourse analyses of interview interactions presented in this paper is on two aspects of discursive structure, the indexical category of ‘research’, and interest management, which refers to the ways that participants manage their own and others’ stakes in particular accounts. The paper concludes by noting how formal scholarly communication acts as a ‘category entitlement’ in interviews, and how technological determinism works as a dilemma for this entitlement that participants (including researchers) negotiate at the very local level of their interactions and accounts.

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