More than "just a little library program": Discourses of power in One Book, One Community programming committees

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Thurlow, Amy
Fuller, Danielle
Rehberg Sedo, DeNel
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LOGOS: The Journal of the World Book Community
This article looks at issues of power in the relationships between the organizers of three city-wide book reading projects on the one hand, and their communities, funders, and partners on the other. We contend that a discourse of "organizational legitimacy" emerges from an analysis of discussions with the organizers of the reading programs. Organizational legitimacy here demonstrates that the power effects are self-regulated, as well as externally introduced, and that it has both strategic and ideological implications. Our identification and subsequent analysis of this specific discourse was achieved through the application of a critical discourse analysis (Van Dijk, 1993) designed to locate power and privilege in the production and reproduction of discursive language. We expand this analysis to employ a Foucauldian understanding of power in our analysis of the management strategies of libraries and partner organizations in book reading projects. Emerging from the discursive language highlighted in our analysis is a discourse of legitimacy reflective of a broader social discourse of capitalism. This discourse highlighted participation, democratic process, and funding concerns for individual participants as they tried to explain, describe, rationalize or question the "legitimacy" of their organization or initiative. This approach problematizes legitimacy as a discourse and allows for connections between the broader social discourse and the enactment of discourse at the local level.
Organizational legitimacy , Discourse analysis , One Book, One Community reading programs
Rehberg Sedo, D., Fuller, D., & Thurlow, A. (2010). More than "just a little library program": Discourses of power in One Book, One Community programming committees. LOGOS: The Journal of the World Book Community, 20(1-4), 228-240.