[Asis-l] [Eurchap] RE: [Sigcr-l] Re: [Sighfis-l] call for new sig interest and membership--interdisciplinary "critical theory"

Torrey Byles tbyles at msn.com
Mon Nov 4 13:37:12 EST 2002

Dear Ron and Michel,

I share both of your concerns. That is, (1) I am interested in participating
in a discussion group and SIG that combines critical theory perspectives
with information technology and (2) I want to efficiently accomplish this
administratively (ie not duplicate work already being performed).

Without further ado and discussion on my part, I simply want to register my
interest in the interdisciplinary focus that Ron proposes. Please keep me
apprised of how we might accomplish such an execution of this focus in the
ASIS institutional framework.


Torrey Byles

Granada Research
5389 Las Flores Rd., #775
Bodega Bay, CA
tel: 707-823-0547
email: tbyles at msn.com

Measuring the network economy...

-----Original Message-----
From: sigcr-l-admin at asis.org [mailto:sigcr-l-admin at asis.org]On Behalf Of
Ron Day
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 7:28 PM
To: Michel J. Menou; sighfis-l-admin at asis.org
Cc: asis-l at asis.org; sigah-l at asis.org; sighfis-l at asis.org;
sigkm-l at asis.org; sigcr-l at asis.org; sigtis-l at asis.org; eurchap at asis.org
Subject: [Sigcr-l] Re: [Sighfis-l] call for new sig interest and
membership--interdisciplinary "critical theory"

Dear Michel,

    Thank you for your good questions.  Let me briefly reply.  I am not sure
that these answers will satisfy you, but you have asked your questions,
addressed to me, in public forums, so I will answer you the best that I can.
I must emphasize that these are my answers, however, not that of a SIG that
doesn't yet exist.

    1)  This initiative comes not only from my own interests, but also
requests by others, particular at the workshop on conceptual and critical
issues at the recent CoLIS4 conference.  I am not operating alone on this.

    2) HFIS's recent and current focus in the direction of traditional
historical works and in "founders" in information science has produced
extremely important research on these topics, but it doesn't exhaust, nor
even at times address, our focus with this new SIG. I have been a member of
the HFIS SIG for several years, and before that was working and publishing
in the area, so I don't feel uncomfortable making such a statement and in
praising and admiring the work of the HFIS SIG and the people involved and
leading it. In this regard, I am in agreement with Tony Debons' recent reply
to your message.
    For example, there doesn't seem to be much room for critical
historiographical, rhetorical, and many other "perspectives" within the
category of "foundations" nor the HFIS take on historical research.  And, if
one wanted to do work on psychoanalysis and information, would this fit into
HFIS?  How about German hermeneutics? cultural studies? feminism?
post-structural philosophy?  political economy (especially, say, what I'll
broadly call, "Marxist" readings of political economy)?  In terms of topics:
new social movements and their relation to ICTs? the social meaning of
"information" and ICTs?  the relation between political and symbolic
economies in the recent dot.coms or in IS funding?  the language or
vocabulary of IS?  open source software and political economies of
information?  information as accumulation?  the multiple issues involved
with gendered uses of ICTs?  These, of course, are just a few of the
"perspectives" (or as they like to say, "approaches"--both terms I find
rather patronizing and purposefully off the point) and problematics that I
see the new SIG addressing (and I certainly am not posing this list as
defining of the new SIG; rather, your questions are addressed to me before
the SIG has been formed, so I am answering largely from interests that I am
most familiar with).
    I am not sure that HFIS or any of the other current ASIST SIGS are that
open to the totality of these overlapping questions, and certainly not as
HFIS is oriented right now or has been in the recent past. I want to
emphasize that the purpose of the new SIG is to create room not only for
people to work within the field, but to make room for their vocabulary
within the field.  Particularly on the issue of allowing new vocabulary, a
new SIG is needed.
    These aren't just particular "approaches," but rather, overlapping
traditions, vocabularies and conceptual tools that are used throughout the
social and human sciences, but which, for the most part, have been excluded
from the (L)IS domain, especially in the UK and, particularly, in the U.S..
I don't see the discourses in "critical theory" that have developed in the
past 80 or so years as being a "narrow" "subject," not in terms of
vocabulary or in terms of public discourses in various countries or in terms
of other fields in the social and human sciences.  I am not sure what
"public" you are referring to in your message.  If it is that of (L)IS as it
is currently configured, especially in the U.S., then my argument is that it
is the purpose of such societies as ASIST to grow and change in regard to
current research, both inside and outside the currently defined field, and
in relation to the "social" globally.  The respons-ibility of such a society
is to listen carefully and to respond, both within and beyond its currently
defined borders on the topics of its interest.  Otherwise, it dies.  And if
you mean by "public" only the ASIST community as it is currently defined,
then let's see if we can get the 50 people to make a formal SIG to address
our needs.  Why not?  Who knows, maybe if we get it formed we can even get a
few new members into ASIST!

    3)  You write that you are supportive of "all" (and thus, I conclude of
this one) of what you term a "manifestation" (a word that can be read
variously in different languages--an appearance, a protest, or an event (I
would prefer the first and third, and then the second)).  Are you then
'on-board' with support for this new SIG? It would be wonderful to have your
"manifestation" in this regard, as well as that of others who may be unsure.
If so, please tell me; we need 50 people, and the more, the better.

Best wishes, Ron Day

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michel J. Menou" <Michel.Menou at wanadoo.fr>
To: <sighfis-l-admin at asis.org>; "Ron Day" <ronday at wayne.edu>
Cc: <asis-l at asis.org>; <sigah-l at asis.org>; <sighfis-l at asis.org>;
<sigkm-l at asis.org>; <sigcr-l at asis.org>; <sigtis-l at asis.org>;
<eurchap at asis.org>
Sent: Friday, October 25, 2002 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: [Sighfis-l] call for new sig interest and
membership--interdisciplinary "critical theory"

> Ron,
> While I fully support the manifestation of all energies and innovative
> endeavours, I cannot resist friendly questions:
> 1) what is the difference in scope between this proposed SIG and HFIS?
> 2) is not is better to develop your action within the exisitng SIG(s)
> rather than creating a new one, especially on a relatively "narrow" -
> public wise at least, subject.
> Best regards
> Michel J. Menou                Mail to: Michel.Menou at wanadoo.fr
> Friday, October 25, 2002, 3:54:14 AM, you wrote:
> RD> Apologies for cross-posting across the various SIG lists...
> RD> ___________________________________
> RD> SIG-CRIT investigates conceptual issues in information science and
studies using philosophical, historiographical, rhetorical, social, and
cultural approaches within a broad, interdisciplinary
> RD> framework of "critical theory."  The purpose of this SIG is to bring
together researchers in these areas, to create connections between various
research agendas and national traditions, and to
> RD> create an intellectually deeper and socially richer interdisciplinary
dialogue between information science and other fields in the social and
human sciences.
> snip

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