Public Libraries and Democratization in Three Developing Countries: Exploring the Role of Social Capital

Description:

This article explores the role of social capital. The authors develop a theoretical framework intended to facilitate systematic investigation of the contributions public libraries may make to democratization.

Creator(s):
Creation Date: March 2012
Partner(s):
UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service
Collection(s):
UNT Scholarly Works
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Total Uses: 236
Past 30 days: 2
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Creator (Author):
Ignatow, Gabriel

University of North Texas; gabriel.ignatow@unt.edu

Creator (Author):
Webb, Sarah M.

Syracuse University; swebb01@syr.edu

Creator (Author):
Poulin, Michelle

University of North Texas; michelle.poulin@unt.edu

Creator (Author):
Parajuli, Ramesh

Martin Chautari; rameshparajuli@gmail.com

Creator (Author):
Fleming, Peter

Invest in Knowledge Initiative; pcfleming@gmail.com

Creator (Author):
Batra, Shika

University of North Texas; shikha.bedi@unt.edu

Creator (Author):
Neupane, Diptee

University of North Texas; diptee.neupane@unt.edu

Publisher Info:
Publisher Name: Walter de Gruyter
Place of Publication: [Berlin, Germany]
Date(s):
  • Creation: March 2012
  • EmbargoUntil: March 1, 2013
Description:

This article explores the role of social capital. The authors develop a theoretical framework intended to facilitate systematic investigation of the contributions public libraries may make to democratization.

Degree:
Department: Sociology
Note:

Abstract: Investments in public libraries in developing countries have been made based on the idea that libraries contribute to societal democratization. Yet scholarly understanding of the relationships between public libraries and democratization is sharply limited. In this article the authors review historical studies of national public library systems that cast doubt on widely held assumptions that a positive relationship necessarily pertains between the establishment of public libraries and democracy. Based on this historical review and on sociological theories of social capital (e.g. Bourdieu 1986), the authors develop a theoretical framework intended to facilitate systematic investigation of the contributions public libraries may make to democracy. Using comparative historical and ethnographic methods, the authors analyze the relationship between public libraries and democratic systems of government in Namibia, Nepal, and Malawi, and find that in all three cases public libraries were established mainly during democratic regimes. However, they were not necessarily established by democratically elected governments directly, but rather because democratic regimes proved to be relatively open to the influence of diasporas and global civil society. The authors only find evidence of public libraries contributing to societal democratization, as the authors conceptualize the process, in Nepal and to a limited degree Namibia - countries that lack a long-established, empowered elite class. The authors discuss possible implications of our analysis for library scholarship and its relations to theories of development.

Physical Description:

14 p.

Language(s):
Subject(s):
Keyword(s): public libraries | developing countries | social capital | democratization
Source: Libri. International Journal of Libraries and Information Services, 2012, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 67-80
Partner:
UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service
Collection:
UNT Scholarly Works
Identifier:
  • DOI: 10.1515/libri-2012-0005
  • ARK: ark:/67531/metadc81388
Resource Type: Article
Format: Text
Rights:
Access: Public
Citation:
Publication Title: Libri. International Journal of Libraries and Information Services
Volume: 62
Issue: 1
Page Start: 67
Page End: 80
Pages: 14
Peer Reviewed: Yes