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Subject positions of children in information behaviour research
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT. Curtin University. (LinCS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4178-0563
2016 (English)In: Information research, ISSN 1368-1613, E-ISSN 1368-1613, Vol. 21, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Introduction. This paper problematises how children are categorised as a specific user group within information behaviour research and discusses the implications of this categorisation.

Methods. Two edited collections of papers on children’s information behaviour are analysed.

Analysis. The analysis is influenced by previous discourse analytic studies of users within information science and by the sociology of childhood and the discourse analytic concept of subject positions guides the analysis.

Results. In the children-focussed discourse of information behaviour research, children are described as being characterised by distinctive child-typical features, which means that similarities between children and other groups, as well as differences within the group, are downplayed. Children are also characterised by deficiencies: by not being adults, by not being mature and by not being competent information seekers. The discourse creates a position of power for adults, and for children a position as those in need of expert help. Children are also ascribed a subject position as users of technologies that affect the group in various ways.

Conclusions. It is suggested that information behaviour research would benefit from shifting the focus from trying to explain how children innately are and therefore behave with information, to creating understandings of various information practices which involve people of a young age.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 21, no 3
Keyword [en]
Children, Information Behaviour, Discourse Analysis
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
Library and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-10713Scopus ID: 84989350409OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-10713DiVA: diva2:971683
Note

This study has been funded by the Curtin Research Fellowship, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. The author is a member of the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS) at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås, Sweden, funded by the Swedish Research Council, ref 349-2006-146.

The author would like to thank Mats Dolatkhah, Linnéa Lindsköld, Amira Sofie Sandin and the research seminar at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science, as well as Brad Gobby at Curtin University for their valuable input and support during the writing of this paper; and Bradley Smith at Semiosmith Editing and Consulting Services for his help with the English editing of the manuscript.

Available from: 2016-09-19 Created: 2016-09-19 Last updated: 2016-12-28Bibliographically approved

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