Document (#43027)

Author
Hjoerland, B.
Title
Political versus apolitical epistemologies in knowledge organization
Source
Knowledge organization. 47(2020) no.6, S.461-485
Year
2020
Abstract
Section 1 raises the issue of this article: whether knowledge organization systems (KOS) and knowledge organization processes (KOP) are neutral or political by nature and whether it is a fruitful ideal that they should be neutral. These questions are embedded in the broader issue of scientific and scholarly research methods and their philosophical assumptions: what kinds of methods and what epistemological assumptions lie behind the construction of KOS (and research in general)? Section 2 presents and discusses basic approaches and epistemologies and their status in relation to neutrality. Section 3 offers a specific example from feminist scholarship in order to clearly demonstrate that methodologies that often claim to be or are considered apolitical represent subjectivity disguised as objectivity. It contains four subsections: 3.1 Feminist views on History, 3.2 Psychology, 3.3 Knowledge Organization, and 3.4. Epistemology. Overall, feminist scholarship has argued that methodologies, claiming neutrality but supporting repression of groups of people should be termed epistemological violence and they are opposed to social, critical, and pragmatic epistemologies that reflect the interaction between science and the greater society. Section 4 discusses the relation between the researchers' (and indexers') political attitudes and their paradigms/indexing. Section 5 considers the contested nature of epistemological labels, and Section 6 concludes that the question of whose interest a specific KOS, algorithm, or information system is serving should always be at the forefront in information studies and knowledge organization (KO).
Content
Part of a special issue: The politics of knowledge organization, Part 2; guest editors: Robert D. Montoya and Gregory H. Leazer. DOI:10.5771/0943-7444-2020-6-461.

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