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Academic Identities in Times of Change

Disciplinary identity is a recurrent theme in discussions of research and education in Information Studies as well as in the broader iSchool field. While most studies rely on quantitatively focused analyses of empirical evidence of the emerging Information Field, the discussion in this webinar will revolve around an analysis of disciplinary identity in Information Studies that builds on a qualitative approach with a focus on how we ascribe meaning to concepts related to disciplinary identity.

This presentation will engage the ASIS&T community in an overview of the nature of a qualitative, interpretivist method using discourse analysis and discuss how this method has been used to tease out the “discourse of the weak discipline” that rests on the widely shared - but mistaken - assumption in Information Studies that the field must erect strong boundaries around a theoretically stable and unitary core.

As shared assumptions are not just lying around in a field, waiting for a researcher to collect them, this talk will also aim to stimulate a discussion on how to identify shared assumptions in the field?


Dorte Madsen is Associate Professor at the Department of Management, Society and Communication at Copenhagen Business School. She lectures and supervises projects in philosophy of the social sciences in interdisciplinary programmes, in information science and communication. Her current research interests focus on discourses on research quality and methodology across fields, and how epistemic authority is articulated. Her recent works include Epistemological or Political? Unpacking Ambiguities in the Field of Interdisciplinary Studies (published in Minerva), Conspicuous by Presence: The Empty Signifier ‘Interdisciplinary’ and the Representation of Absence (published in an edited volume in the Post-disciplinary Studies in Discourse book series) and Liberating interdisciplinary from myth. An exploration of the discursive construction of identities in information studies (published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology).