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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of public libraries as institutions underpinning a democratic public sphere as reasons legitimizing libraries compared to reasons that are more traditional and the actual use of libraries as public sphere arenas.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of representative samples of the adult population in six countries – Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland – was undertaken.

Findings

Legitimations related to the libraries role as a meeting place and arena for public debate are ranked as the 3 least important out of 12 possible legitimations for upholding a public library service. Libraries are, however, used extensively by the users to access citizenship information and to participate in public sphere relevant meetings.

Originality/value

Few studies have empirically analyzed the role of libraries in upholding a democratic and sustainable public sphere. This study contributes in filling that gap.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

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Article

Ragnar Audunson, Svanhild Aabø, Roger Blomgren, Sunniva Evjen, Henrik Jochumsen, Håkon Larsen, Casper Hvenegaard Rasmussen, Andreas Vårheim, Jamie Johnston and Masanori Koizumi

The purpose of this paper is to examine the shaping of public libraries as an infrastructure for a sustainable public sphere through a comprehensive literature review.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the shaping of public libraries as an infrastructure for a sustainable public sphere through a comprehensive literature review.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to capture the whole picture of this research field, we utilize comprehensive review methodology. The major research questions are: first, to what extent have research topics regarding libraries as public sphere institutions expanded and diversified? Which theoretical perspectives inform research? Second, which challenges and topics does the research focus upon, such as: social inclusion and equal access to information; digital inequalities; censorship and freedom of expression; and access to places and spaces with a democratic potential and the role of libraries in that respect? Third, what influence has social media exerted on libraries in the context of the expanding digital world?

Findings

The authors identified mainly four themes regarding the public library and public sphere, such as: the importance of public libraries by using Habermas’s theory; the function of meeting places within the public library and setting those places in the center of the library in order to enhance and encourage democracy; the relationship between social inclusion and public libraries and its functions in current society such as diminishing the digital divide; and the emerging electronic resources and arena of SNS in public libraries and utilizing them to reach citizens.

Originality/value

Capturing the recent history of this research field through comprehensive review is valuable.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Content available
Article

Haider Muthnna Almoatasm

This paper aims to scrutinize some determinants that affect the functions and roles of contemporary parliaments. In particular, such parliaments attempt to involve in new…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to scrutinize some determinants that affect the functions and roles of contemporary parliaments. In particular, such parliaments attempt to involve in new areas that were not represented in parliamentary study and to play new roles in the areas of development, diplomacy, the establishment of post-conflict peace rules and achieving the objectives of the sustainable development. The study found that the most important determinants affecting the new roles of contemporary parliaments are the constitutional and legal frameworks.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper adopts three basic methodologies so as to reach some applicable scientific findings that can be generalized. The researcher has used the descriptive methodology, to shed light on the parliament’s various activities and new roles and to take note of the many surrounding factors and available dimensions that enable parliaments to perform such roles. The researcher has also used the comparative methodology, to study parliaments with a view to identifying their roles in a way that includes their similarities and dissimilarities and the possibility of generalizing the outputs.

Findings

The paper has reached many findings, the most important of which are: first, the need to present appropriate amendments to the constitutions to give space to parliaments to play more effective and influential roles. Second, the internal regulations of parliaments must be in line with the attitudes and aspirations of the parliament and its members, giving appropriate cover for playing new roles in various areas.

Research limitations/implications

This study has found that contemporary parliaments can play new roles in various fields, whether internal or external and in different sectors as well, as a result of the great developments and complexities introduced around the world. Such developments and complexities have cast a shadow on governments and affected their abilities in dealing with the issues immediately because of the enormous challenges in addition to the ongoing developments occurring to the legislative systems in the world, at the technical level of the departments and secretariats of contemporary parliaments or for members of Parliament and the institution as a whole.

Practical implications

The new roles of contemporary parliaments have been affected by the determinants of the research, which are the constitutional framework, the legislative framework, the relationship between Parliament and civil society and the relationship between Parliament and the government. These factors cast a shadow over the expansion or contraction of the attempts of modern parliaments to play new roles.

Social implications

This study has found that contemporary parliaments can play social roles in various fields of a social nature, which is find solutions to the problems experienced by societies emerging from civil wars, which need national reconciliation, for example, the reconciliation of the ethnic tribes carried out by the Iraqi council of representatives between the local tribes to resolve the internal problems, in addition the role of Borondian council by it is trying end the conflict between the tribes of Hotsi and Tutsi.

Originality/value

The importance of the study stems from the fact that it focuses on the most important determinants of the new roles of contemporary parliaments that may be conducted outside the traditional framework of the parliament's study of legislation and supervision. Such contemporary parliaments have played new roles that take the form of political, economic, social, humanitarian, diplomatic and environmental works and other works concerned with the climate and their attempts to end internal and external conflicts and disputes.

Details

Review of Economics and Political Science, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2356-9980

Keywords

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