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THE POWER OF IMAGES: A DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THE COGNITIVE VIEWPOINT

BERND FROHMANN (School of Library and Information Science University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6G 1H1)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Publication date: 1 April 1992

Abstract

A discourse analysis of the cognitive viewpoint in library and information science identifies seven discursive strategies which constitute information as a commodity, and persons as surveyable information consumers, within market economy conditions. These strategies are: (a) universality of theory, (b) referentiality and reification of ‘images’, (c) internalisation of representations, (d) radical individualism and erasure of the social dimension of theory, (e) insistence upon knowledge, (f) constitution of the information scientist as an expert in image negotiation, and (g) instrumental reason, ruled by efficiency, standardisation, predictability, and determination of effects. The discourse is guided throughout by a yearning for natural‐scientific theory. The effect of the cognitive viewpoint's discursive strategy is to enable knowledge acquisition of information processes only when users' and generators' ‘images’ are constituted as objectively given natural‐scientific entities, and to disable knowledge of the same processes when considered as products of social practices. By its constitution of users as free creators of images, of the information scientist as an expert in image interpretation and delivery, and of databases as repositories of unmediated models of the world, the cognitive viewpoint performs ideological labour for modern capitalist image markets.

Citation

FROHMANN, B. (1992), "THE POWER OF IMAGES: A DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THE COGNITIVE VIEWPOINT", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 48 No. 4, pp. 365-386. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb026904

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1992, MCB UP Limited