Canadian Librarianship and the Politics of Recognition

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  • Recent controversies in Canadian librarianship—the Toronto Public Library room rental to a "gender-critical feminist" group and the institution of “airport-style” security at the Winnipeg Public Library—have exposed divisions within the profession. This article attempts to untangle the relationship of Canadian libraries to state power and explores hegemonic leadership within the library profession. It also investigates the part played by a politics of recognition, both in the reinforcement of professional discipline and in the maintenance of the social, political, and economic status quo regarding the rights and democratic participation of marginalized communities. The paper begins with a brief account of recent controversies, looks at intellectual freedom, and then analyzes the ways in which politics of recognition play out in libraries and settler-colonial societies. Based on Taylor’s theory of recognition and its critique by Coulthard and Fraser, this article argues that, within the context of a needed refoundation of social relations, recognition must be combined with real redistribution of rights and participation.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Popowich, S. “Canadian Librarianship and the Politics of Recognition”. Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, Vol. 16, no. 1, Apr. 2021, pp. 1-23
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