"En kugge i krigsapparaten" : Bibliotekens roll i svensk kris- och krigsberedskap
Sammanfattning: In this thesis we explore the idea presented in the Swedish National Library Strategy (2019) to tie the public libraries closer to the nation’s total defense system. The purpose of the study has been to understand which problem this idea was formulated as a solution to and how the suggestion is problematized by information science professionals, using critical discourse analysis methods developed by Carol Bacchi. Our material consists of the finalized National Library Strategy, its first draft from 2018, and the referral responses by various interested parties, as well as interviews with 15 public librarians, library directors, and scholars of information science. We discuss how the psychological defense relates to the librarian’s statutory duty to facilitate citizen participation in deliberative democracy and to counteract misinformation. We also ask how the library professions might be affected by an active involvement in future civil defense efforts. Our results show that the National Library Strategy construes the idea as a security problem by portraying our society as affected by growing political tensions, rapidly spread misinformation, and chaos, making the total defense suggestion into a meaningful solution. In our interviews with information professionals, some respondents viewed the total defense as an extension of their work to advocate democracy and intellectual freedom, whereas others perceived ethical tensions and incongruity between the two missions, referring to traditional library ideals of political neutrality and independence. All respondents based their reflections of the total defense idea on the importance of deliberative democracy and the library’s prominent place in promoting it, but with differing perspectives of its relationship to the total defense system as either problematic or emblematic. Drawing on these results, we argue that a total defense mission is compatible with librarians’ professional ethics and statutory democracy advocacy, as long as libraries can continue to foster free opinion formation and unbiased information evaluation independent from state interests during wartime and times of crisis. This is a two years master's thesis in library and information science.
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