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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Michael M. Widdersheim and Masanori Koizumi

The purpose of this paper is to construct a conceptual model of the public sphere in public libraries. Various international authors over the past 20 years have associated…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to construct a conceptual model of the public sphere in public libraries. Various international authors over the past 20 years have associated the public sphere with public libraries, but these associations have yet to be clarified and synthesized in a comprehensive way.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used qualitative content analysis to identify the dimensions of the public sphere in public libraries. The study’s scope included annual reports from an urban US public library system from 1900 to 2010.

Findings

Six dimensions of the public sphere in public libraries are described with examples. The dimensions are: core criteria; internal public sphere; external public sphere; collect and organize discourse; perform legitimation processes; and facilitate discourse. Three of these dimensions are newly identified. The six total dimensions are synthesized into a comprehensive conceptual model with three discourse arenas: governance and management; legitimation; and commons.

Originality/value

This study is distinctive because it used a data-based, empirical approach to public libraries to an abstract sociological concept. Three dimensions of the model are new to library studies literature and therefore represent new potential areas of inquiry. The resulting conceptual model is useful for both practitioners and researchers in the public library sector. Further, the model contributes to existing social and political theory.

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Journal of Documentation, vol. 72 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2001

Andrej Skerlep

The paper criticises the dominant paradigm of public relations theory for lack of interest in discursive and rhetorical dimensions of public relations. An alternative…

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2055

Abstract

The paper criticises the dominant paradigm of public relations theory for lack of interest in discursive and rhetorical dimensions of public relations. An alternative theoretical approach to public relations is identified that does treat discursive and rhetorical dimensions of public relations, but it is indicated that at present it has not been sufficiently integrated into dominant public relations theory. The paper explores the points of convergence between rhetoric and public relations. The narrow and broad conceptions of rhetoric are presented, the first characterising rhetoric with persuasive and argumentative discourse, the second with different types of discourse. It is suggested that elements of the broad conception of rhetoric could provide heuristics for analysing public relations techniques as “genre repertoire” of public relations discourse. In the second part, an enquiry into the narrow conception of rhetoric as persuasive and argumentative discourse is made. Positivistic understanding of “truth” and “objectivity” as normative criteria of public relations discourse is criticised on the basis of the so‐called “rhetoric as epistemic” view. It is argued that in corporate discourse, especially in situations of confrontation with active publics, key managerial decisions have to be justified in argumentation. In the last part of the paper, Toulmin’s model of argumentation is suggested as especially suitable for analysis of the argumentative nature of corporate discourse.

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Journal of Communication Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-254X

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Chris Mason

Current social entrepreneurship (SE) literature advocates a critical reexamination of the core construct. As such, and based on the seemingly endless definitional debate…

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1447

Abstract

Purpose

Current social entrepreneurship (SE) literature advocates a critical reexamination of the core construct. As such, and based on the seemingly endless definitional debate among academics, this paper seeks to empirically analyse social entrepreneurship discourse in the United Kingdom. It aims to posit that this debate is in fact detrimental to a more coherent and evenly distributed discourse. Furthermore, the ensuing ambiguities suit other, more powerful participants, and keeping this debate live allows the discourse to be shaped.

Design/methodology/approach

The author utilised critical discourse analysis (CDA) in this study, developing a personal qualitative data set (including a third sector and SE corpora containing SE policies covering 2002‐2008). This data set was then subjected to an online analysis tool WMatrix, and both sets were compared with a widely used base line corpus.

Findings

The findings show that SE discourse is now firmly attached to public policy discourse. Furthermore, this public policy concerning SE was heavily imbued with political language and ideology. Thus, the findings show empirically that SE is characterised in broader public policy debates as a politically re‐constructed concept.

Research limitations/implications

SE will continue to be a contested concept in the public sphere, however further research should explore the potential of dissensus from political reconstructions as a powerful counter‐discourse.

Originality/value

This study is among the first to utilise CDA to interrogate SE discourse, and the analysis provides novel insights for academics and practitioners to reinterpret and contest SE as more than the solution for failing public services.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2012

Sara E. McClellan and Bryon G. Gustafson

This paper seeks to analyze how institutional arrangements and discourses shape law enforcement professionalization efforts, to identify opportunities and potential…

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1918

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to analyze how institutional arrangements and discourses shape law enforcement professionalization efforts, to identify opportunities and potential problems associated with professionalization, and to propose research to address practitioner interests in education and training and public interests in accountability and service equity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores discourses surrounding law enforcement professionalization efforts to identify implementation barriers and potential consequences. It reviews earlier literatures and analyzes occupational standards data, utilizing a communicative perspective to investigate professionalization problems that have often been approached from political or economic perspectives.

Findings

Although law enforcement is often urged to professionalize, educational standards for officers remain low. There is no clear nexus between college curriculum and law enforcement as a profession. This paper shows that competing discourses about professionalization in general and law enforcement in particular undermine efforts to establish professional status and increased standards for law enforcement.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should include greater cross‐sectional data analysis. Investigation of law enforcement standards or professionalization should account for social discourses that contribute to norms and expectations.

Practical implications

Law enforcement agencies and criminal justice programs have opportunities to better coordinate practice and scholarship. Failure to attend to institutional relationships and the role of communication in shaping professional standards will hamper advances in either field.

Social implications

The paper shows that professional norms shape law enforcement accountability to the public in critical and sometimes unintended ways.

Originality/value

Previous authors have not considered social discourse impacts on law enforcement standards and professionalization, nor their relationship to higher education. By introducing these variables, barriers and alternative approaches are revealed.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2009

Udi Lebel

The paper examines two discourses of bereavement that crystallized simultaneously in Israel as the third millennium began. One is “the economic discourse of bereavement,”…

Abstract

The paper examines two discourses of bereavement that crystallized simultaneously in Israel as the third millennium began. One is “the economic discourse of bereavement,” with which official organizations dealing with bereavement sought to “free themselves” from the state's directives on entitlement to compensation. Army widows argued that compensation should not depend on their refraining from remarriage, while bereaved parents demanded it would not be contingent on a means test. They urge for liberation from “role demands” and for presenting entitlement to compensation as entitlement to personal rehabilitation, without using it to support pro-establishment behavior or unending interactions with establishment supervision. Those claims express the linkage of bereavement to globalization and individuation, and the desire to rebel against the republican equation conditioning entitlement to welfare on “proper” establishment-compliant behavior. A second discourse is the “hierarchy of bereavement discourse” – which was placed on the agenda together with the first one, and by the same organizations. Unlike the economic discourse, this one acted to replicate the monopoly held by families of IDF dead in the Israeli pantheon, with attempts to bring into it a group of families of civilian bereavement (families of terror victims). The discourse relies on purely republican underpinnings, complying with the spirit of the local–national period. Exploring the two discourses, that were promoted simultaneously by the same agents, assists an analysis of the Israeli discourse of bereavement that results in its definition as “glocal.” This transpires from a review of the literature showing that – even in the face of globalization processes – national–local foundations remained stable. The paper first engages with the concept of glocalization, the ethos of republican citizenship, and, as a facet of it, the identification of social policy as an agent of the social hierarchy, as well as changes in citizenship during globalization. The second section reviews the status of bereaved families, and the central discourses they have promoted in Israeli society. The third and major part contains an analysis of both discourses – the economic discourse of bereavement, and the hierarchy of bereavement discourse. Finally, we attempt to analyze and explain how apparently antithetical discourses took shape in tandem, drawing on the term “glocalism” and the impact of citizenship models.

Details

Advances in Military Sociology: Essays in Honor of Charles C. Moskos
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-891-5

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Anu Pynnönen and Tuomo Takala

The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively describe and explain the contemporary Finnish discourse of municipal managers. The emphasis within is on analyzing the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to qualitatively describe and explain the contemporary Finnish discourse of municipal managers. The emphasis within is on analyzing the encounters of the public sector management discourse and the private sector management discourse, and the effects that these encounters have on the construction and representation of municipal management.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a three-phase discourse analysis, proceeding from the textual and linguistic level through interpretive analysis to critical analysis. This analysis is based on the proceedings and presentations of a seminar of municipal leadership and management, arranged in 2013 in Finland.

Findings

The encounters of the discourses form three types: apposition of actors; contradiction and conflict of contexts; and domination of the private sector discourse. Apposition is a surface-level phenomenon, synonymizing the actors of the two discourses. Contradiction and conflict are caused by the incompatibility of operational and value contexts. Domination is a phenomenon of prioritizing the private sector principles and values in conflict situations. All these may affect the role and work of, as well as expectations toward, the municipal manager.

Research limitations/implications

Further research and more samples are needed to assess wider applicability of the present findings.

Originality/value

The study highlights the roles of language and discourse in the construction and representation of municipal management and managers. It increases the importance of understanding the discursive elements of the new public management phenomenon. In addition, the study supplements the existing macro-level studies.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 27 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2020

Tiina Tuominen and Mervi Hasu

This paper analyzes how public servants who work with young people discursively cope with competing demands on their agency, defined as their orientation toward and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyzes how public servants who work with young people discursively cope with competing demands on their agency, defined as their orientation toward and capabilities to influence their clients. Previous studies revealed how public servants treat their clients when facing competing demands but paid less attention to how public servants define their agency.

Design/methodology/approach

Micro-level discourse analysis is applied to analyze how public servants represent their agency in client relationships, drawing on interviews with nine individuals in a Finnish city who work with young people lacking jobs or school placements.

Findings

Instead of describing their agency coherently, the interviewees applied several discourses to represent their agency differently in relation to different demands. This ability to navigate contradictory discourses is discussed as reflexive discursive coping strategy, which enables public servants to maintain a positive image of their agency despite tensions at work.

Research limitations/implications

Although the method does not allow direct generalizations, it reveals discursive strategies likely to be found in many contemporary public organizations.

Practical implications

The study indicates a need to better acknowledge and nurture the multifaceted nature of agency to improve service quality.

Originality/value

The findings deepen the view on tensions in public servants' work and show that diverse discourses not only create anxiety but also help individuals dealing with contradictory work.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Dean Neu, Constance Friesen and Jeffery Everett

Starting from the premise that formal ethical codes and other ethical discourses differ in their audiences, effects and characteristics, it is analyzed how…

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1803

Abstract

Starting from the premise that formal ethical codes and other ethical discourses differ in their audiences, effects and characteristics, it is analyzed how practitioner‐directed ethical discourses have spoken and continue to speak about character‐based ethics. Borrowing from the literature on professions and Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, starts from the assumption that editorials in practitioner‐oriented publications are a form of cultural good traded on an internal symbolic market. By providing access to symbolic capital, trade in this good acts to bind together members of the accounting profession, yet trade in this good also has the potential to obscure a number of important, underlying social issues. The study is based on a close (textual) reading of editorials in the Canadian Chartered Accountant (subsequently renamed CA Magazine) from 1911 to 1999, and this reading is framed in light of a number of macro‐level and meso‐level (contextual) changes. It is found that character‐based ethical discourses continue to pervade this professional field, though not without important changes which themselves need to be explained in light of the more widespread, non‐professional field.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2017

Magdalena Nowicka-Franczak

Public acts of self-criticism in Eastern Europe – a genre cultivated and extorted by the communist parties – did not disappear with the end of communism. In the young…

Abstract

Public acts of self-criticism in Eastern Europe – a genre cultivated and extorted by the communist parties – did not disappear with the end of communism. In the young democracies of the region self-criticism has become an attempt to diagnose society’s ‘backward’ character and to develop ‘self-correction’ scenarios in order to participate in the Western modernising discourse. On the one hand, conservative and right-wing elites suppose that public acts of self-criticism (performed by politicians, artists or scholars) can endow the vetting procedures of the ancien régime with a sense of social catharsis and retroactive justice. On the other hand, liberal and left-wing intellectuals subject themselves to collective self-reckoning, not only with their choices made in the transition period, but also with the memory of WWII, in order to shape a civil society free of anti-Semitism and intolerance. An analysis based on the discourse-historical approach in critical discourse analysis, Reinhart Koselleck’s historical semantics and Michel Foucault’s notion of discourse, and carried out on the text corpus of selected acts of self-criticism in Poland, aims to diagnose the role these acts had in shaping public discourse on the troublesome past.

Details

National Identity and Europe in Times of Crisis
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-514-6

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Article
Publication date: 30 August 2011

Linda R. Macdonald, Richard J. Varey and James R. Barker

The authors aim to review a five‐year multi‐study research programme on the role of public dialogue in the social and cultural sustainability of biotechnology developments…

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1400

Abstract

Purpose

The authors aim to review a five‐year multi‐study research programme on the role of public dialogue in the social and cultural sustainability of biotechnology developments in New Zealand.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a critical review of all the published research products from a five‐year government‐funded study of the cultural and social aspects of sustainable biotechnology in New Zealand.

Findings

The review research highlights how New Zealand Government policies on biotechnology, which motivated the research programme, were fore‐grounded on economic progress and competitive positioning. Thus, debate on sustainable biotechnology issues became cast in economic and technical terms, while public dialogue became seen as diversionary and unsubstantiated. The analysis concludes that the programme was ineffective in influencing government policy and fell victim to the very problem of science governance that its purpose was designed to address.

Research limitations/implications

The research develops implications regarding the ability of government‐funded sustainability research to influence policy.

Originality/value

The review focuses on the purpose, content, outcomes, and context of the research programme and identifies a number of key themes that arose from the programme that are useful for other sustainability policy researchers. The reviewers conclude that this case demonstrates that the marketization of the public sphere depoliticises the social and cultural construction of the nation's future.

Details

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8021

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