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Öst är öst och väst är väst...: En normkritisk studie av dikotomin öst och väst respektive användande av patriotism i bilioteksvärlden: Exemplen Library of Congress och Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of ALM.
2015 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
East is East and West is West... : A Norm Critical Study of the dichotomy East and West and the use of Patriotism in Libraries: Examples Library of Congress and Bibliotheca Alexandrina (English)
Abstract [en]

Purpose- The aim of this master’s thesis is to analyse the dichotomy between west and east and how this is seen in the following two libraries; Library of Congress (LC) and Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA). I want to analyze if the portrait of east, as slow and hostile, and of west, as welcoming and forward, and how this, if at all, is actually seen in LC and BA. The presence and use of patriotism and nationalism in libraries is also examined. I asked myself the following questions: 1) How do LC and BA present themselves on their websites and how does this correspond to the dichotomy?, 2) How do LC and BA relate to patriotism on their websites?, and 3) Can one see what, if anything, LC and BA say about each other and how does this correspond to the dichotomy? These are questions that libraries world-wide might gain from to ponder, how and why, a western norm is almost always seen as superior to an eastern option.


Method- The approach was norm critical analysis of LC and BA’s websites. The method used was comparative text and image studies combined with netnography. Benedict Andersons and Jürgen Habermas’ theories about patriotism and nationalism was used, as well as Edward Saids Orient perspective. Andersons’ idea of an imagined community was also central.


Key Findings- The analysis shows that the dichotomy is actually the other way round, BA are the modern and welcoming ones, while LC are more traditional by way of expressing themselves. The dichotomy is also in some cases even very misleading of how the East is interpreted by the West. The conclusion is three major findings, 1) BA want to create and share knowledge both with each other and with the world as a whole, whilst LC is more about gathering knowledge and keeping this in the library for the sake of the United States welfare, 2) LC speak of themsleves as modern and of BA as ancient just as the dichotomy often display the two of them, but this is not a correct statement; BA has, for instance, modern western superheroes displayed on their website for children, while LC, on the other hand, has heroes such as the late American president Abraham Lincoln and American veterans on display for children (in other words, mostly an American perspective that one might find difficult to relate to if being a non-american citizen, while BA is more global with well-known cartoon figures), and lastly, 3) LC displays patriotism through stories of war by having a prominent section dedicated to American veterans on their website, while BA speaks more of a patriotism through a proud cultural heritage.


Originality/value- This kind of study had not been done before in LIS research.


Paper type- This is a two years master’s thesis in Library and Information Science (LIS) in Archive, Library and Museums studies

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 74 p.
Uppsatser inom biblioteks- & informationsvetenskap, ISSN 1650-4267 ; 674
Keyword [en]
Libraries, Patriotism, Nationalism, Dichotomy, Library of Congress, Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Keyword [sv]
Bibliotek, patriotism, nationalism, dikotomi, Library of Congress, Bibliotheca Alexandrina
National Category
Humanities Information Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266353Local ID: 674OAI: diva2:867947
Subject / course
Library and Information Science
Educational program
Master Programme in ALM
Available from: 2015-11-11 Created: 2015-11-08 Last updated: 2015-11-11Bibliographically approved

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