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Social field, domains of knowledge and informational practice

Denise Morado Nascimento (School of Architecture, Universidade Federal de Minais Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
Regina Maria Marteleto (School of Information Sciences, Universidade Federal de Minais Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to understand the information phenomenon through the means of informational practice – the way of acting that gives identity to a group – in a social field and knowledge domain.


By relating Pierre Bourdieu's sociology of culture to the domain analysis approach of Birger Hjørland, the intention was to achieve a comprehensive interpretation of the structure which generates the discourse communities and, also, of the social structure from which they are derived. All of these form the conditions for understanding the efforts, objectives and interests of the actors in the social field that causes them to develop determined informational practices. The field of architecture was elected for analysis.


The conclusions show that both the products and subjects of a domain of knowledge, inserted in social fields, are expressions of their informational practice.

Research limitations/implications

The authors believe the theoretical model based on Bourdieu and Hjørland's concepts, here built to analyze the architecture domain, may be used to analyze other domains.


Domain analysis is employed as an approach to the study of the information aspects but here supported by the sociological concepts of Bourdieu. Thus, it is possible to understand what, how and why the informational practices are constituted inside a domain of knowledge, and, fundamentally, interpret the historical, cultural, and social dimensions that influence the construction of information.



Morado Nascimento, D. and Marteleto, R.M. (2008), "Social field, domains of knowledge and informational practice", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 64 No. 3, pp. 397-412.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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