Social epistemology, information science and ideology

Social Epistemology 16 (1):23 – 35 (2002)
Margaret Egan and Jesse Hauk Shera's original conception of social epistemology has never been defined unambiguously, or developed significantly beyond its early formulation. An interesting consequence of this lack of conceptual clarity has been the application of several interpretations of social epistemology. This article discusses how social epistemology was linked with the ideology of apartheid, and with racially segregated library and information services in the Republic of South Africa. In a fraudulent scientific vision for librarianship, social epistemology was assigned a role that violated its original purpose. The intellectual content of social epistemology needs to be articulated in order to prevent further examples of such conceptual abuse. The paper ends with an attempt to do this with some suggestions based on Shera's own seminal ideas.
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