Supporting intellectual freedom: Symbolic capital and practical philosophy in librarianship

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Support for intellectual freedom has been a part of librarianship since the 1930s. There are three primary phenomena that form the foundation of this support: codification, institutionalization, and investigation. Codification occurred primarily through the ratification of the Codes of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights by the American Library Association (ALA). Institutionalization refers to the establishment of committees dedicated to upholding intellectual freedom by the ALA. Finally, investigation includes both scholarly and nonscholarly research into intellectual freedom and censorship within library and information science. Using Pierre Bourdieu's concept of symbolic capital, this article argues that these three areas are the foundation of a practical philosophy for librarianship that encourages librarians to eschew censorship in their institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-21
Number of pages14
JournalLibrary Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences

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