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Open Access and Closed Discourses: Constructing Open Access as a 'Development' Issue

Haider, J. (2008). Open Access and Closed Discourses: Constructing Open Access as a 'Development' Issue. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This thesis investigates the connection between open access - the free online availability and distribution of scientific and scholarly publications - and the 'developing world' from a postdevelopment perspective. It takes a discourse analytical approach, drawing predominantly on Michel Foucault's understanding in discourse. It aims to answer the following questions: - .Which notions of science, of development and progress, of knowledge as well as of information and technology are capitalised on in the open access debates and in which way are they shaped as a consequence? - \Vhich discursive effects can be established, what are the results and of which kind are they? 111e thesis is divided into six chapters, chapters 2 to 5 are grouped into two parts. In the introduction (chapter 1) the general problem space is outlined, the connection between the open access movement and the 'developing world' is established; the research approach is briefly sketched, followed by a presentation of the research questions. Furthermore, the relevance of the study for Library and Information Science is discussed. Chapter 2 introduces the notion of discourse. It contains a discussion of the Foucauldian concept of discourse in relation to the notions of knowledge, truth, and power, as well as resistance, governmentality, and pastoral power. The manifestation of discourse in language is discussed with reference to Michel pecheux. The way in which discourses are dispersed unevenly in society is examined. It concludes with a presentation of the concept of the discursive procedure, which forms the basis for the analyses. Chapter 3 introduces post-development theory, specifically focusing on development discourse. It presents and problematises the concept of devt;lopment, of poverty and ignorance, as well as of science. The historical foundations of dev~lopmentdiscourse and the role of science and technology in it are examined. Chapter 4 investigates the representation of open access in its relation to development. It is based on a corpus consisting of 38 articles and similar publications and 5 statements and declarations. The latter are also examined from a genre perspective. The following discursive procedures are identified: (1) Leaving a blank or defining the undefinable: 111e elusiveness of the 'developing world', (2) Technologism and technological determinism, (3) Economism, (4) Scientific centralism and scientism, (5) Temporal distancing. It concludes with a discussion of the guiding metaphor, the divide. Chapter 5 investigates how open access is debated in the context of development. It draws on a two-week long email debate organised by a development institution in 2006. 146 postings by 49 participants are included in the analysis. The following discursive procedures are identified: (1) Technologism, (2) The role of the profession: mediation, translation, and control, (3) Rural people and the lack of education, (4) Developmentalism and antidev~ lopmentalism: Positioning oneself in and against development. It concludes with a discussion of the guiding metaphor, the barrier, as well as ofidentity construction. The concluding chapter 6 is concerned with providing a sum-up of the analyses with a view to answering the research questions. It considers a possible future for the open access movement in its relation to the 'developing world' and concludes with a brief discussion of issues relevant for future research. The main findings suggest that the 'developing world' is constructed around the coordinates provided by mainstream development thought. Open access is inserted into its discursive repertoire as a problem of development, a tool for its delivery, and its measure. The dominant understanding of information adheres to a sender/receiver model. However, ruptures occur in significant places. This requires a partial re-positioning of the way in which development is framed and of open access' role in it

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
Doctoral Theses
School of Science & Technology > School of Science & Technology Doctoral Theses
School of Communication & Creativity > School of Communication & Creativity Doctoral Theses
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