Social epistemology and Information Science – University of Copenhagen

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CONFERENCE AND WORKSHOP - limited number of participants

Social epistemology as theoretical foundation for information science: supporting a cultural turn

16 (Conference) -17 August (Workshop) 2017



Information science (and its subfields, information seeking and retrieval, knowledge organization, bibliometrics, and information infrastructures) has mostly been a technology-driven field lacking proper theoretical foundation. However, the term “social epistemology” (SE) originated in library and information science – and, in retrospect, may be considered its most valuable theoretical position.

Whereas traditional epistemology/theory of knowledge is individualistic and has little if anything to say about the role of information systems and services (which is the focus of information science), SE provides the important perspective of knowledge and information structures in society. It is also a normative approach, which means that the way information systems and services are designed plays an important role for knowledge production by offering various affordances and hindrances to cognition and therefore aimed at reforming our societal knowledge-producing practices and institutions. Today social epistemology represents a strong and growing interdisciplinary trend, but still relatively weakly represented in the field where it originated.

This workshop gathers researchers with a combined perspective on information science and social epistemology in order to establish a network for the further development of both theoretical issues and specific applications.