A dramaturgical perspective on academic libraries

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6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although many social sciences theories have been applied to the field of library and information science, one theory that has received relatively little attention is dramaturgy. The dramaturgical perspective posits that social life is inherently theatrical in nature. When applied to the academic library setting, both librarians and library users are seen as performers who play a variety of roles in front stage and backstage areas within the library. They strive to deliver convincing performances to their respective audiences by engaging in various forms of impression management. The application of dramaturgy to the academic library setting is critical for understanding the taken-for-granted nature of behavior in libraries. The dramaturgical perspective calls into question the common assumption that information seeking behavior is an exclusively logical, rational, instrumental process. Instead, it suggests that behavior in libraries is motivated, at least in part, by the attempt to maintain a favorable impression among those with whom performers interact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-352
Number of pages24
JournalPortal
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2005

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