The trouble with diverse books, part II: an informational pragmatic analysis

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Purpose: Diverse books is a fundamentally political concept that performs particular normative work in discursive space. Part I of this project demonstrated that this was the case, further claiming that descriptive conceptual analysis was therefore methodologically inadequate to the task of defining the term. The purpose of this paper – Part II of II – is to advance a universal account of diverse books using an alternative form of conceptual analysis designed to suit the needs and commitments of LIS scholarship. Design/methodology/approach: This paper proposes and deploys a new method called informational pragmatic analysis, through which one develops accounts of political concepts in terms of their legitimate aims and benefits vis-à-vis informational justice. Findings: Diverse books are those systematically devalorized literary works we must make an ameliorative effort to promote in order to advance informational justice for oppressed persons in particular. These works exist on a contextually specific spectrum of moral urgency. A critical task for the diverse books movement is therefore to determine through democratic deliberation which (types of) books are most urgently in need of promotion under varying sociopolitical conditions. Originality/value: In addition to proposing a new analytical methodology for LIS, the paper articulates and defends a pragmatic account of diverse books that resists regressive misappropriation. This further lays the groundwork for future critical interrogations of the activities of various agents and agencies of print, both within and beyond the library.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-197
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Conceptual analysis
  • Diverse books
  • Research methods
  • Social justice


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