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On Dark Continents and Digital Divides: Information Inequality and the Reproduction of Racial Otherness in Library and Information Studies

Show simple item record Hudson, David J. 2016-08-18T15:18:25Z 2016-08-18T15:18:25Z 2016-08-18
dc.description.abstract This paper presents a critical race analysis of Library and Information Studies (LIS) writing on global information inequality, that body of literature focused on the connection between global suffering and disparities in information access related to available content, technologies, infrastructure, and skills. I argue that global information inequality represents a key site for the reproduction of racialized discourse in the field. In particular, I contend that the construction of information inequality as a sign of marginalization powerfully (if tacitly) extends colonial mythologies of racial Otherness and Western civilizational superiority. My engagement with critical race and anti-colonial scholarship in support of this claim focuses on two key ideas: (a) the construction of racial difference in colonial discourse, particularly its recourse to narratives of intellectual and technological capacity; and (b) the concept of (international) development as an example of the relatively recent shift to racialized discourse largely stripped of explicit racial coding. After sketching these ideas in broad strokes, I turn to a critical analysis of such racially encoded international development discourse in global information inequality literature, with a focus on the dynamics of narratives, imagery, and other systems of meaning. The paper both builds on existing critiques of LIS information inequality discourse and contributes a global-facing perspective to a small body of LIS critical race work that has tended to focus on domestic (rather than international) contexts. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Critical Race Theory en_US
dc.subject Library and Information Studies en_US
dc.subject Library and Information Science en_US
dc.subject Critical Librarianship en_US
dc.subject Racism en_US
dc.subject Colonialism en_US
dc.subject Postcolonialism en_US
dc.subject Postcolonial en_US
dc.subject Post-Colonialism en_US
dc.subject Post-Colonial en_US
dc.subject Discourse Analysis en_US
dc.subject Libraries en_US
dc.subject Librarianship en_US
dc.subject Digital Divide en_US
dc.subject Information Poverty en_US
dc.subject Information Privilege en_US
dc.title On Dark Continents and Digital Divides: Information Inequality and the Reproduction of Racial Otherness in Library and Information Studies en_US
dc.type Article en_US
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