Information as discursive construct / Ma(2010)
Citation - Ma, Lai. (2010). Information as discursive construct. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 47(1), 1-4.
Keyword - information
- 重探 Buckland (1991)「資訊的事物觀」與 Ekbia & Evans (2009)「資訊體制」。
By revisiting the notion of “information-as-thing” (Buckland, 1991) and investigating the notion of “regimes of information” (Ekbia and Evans, 2009), this paper shows that “information” is constituted by community consensus and is influenced by economic and political structures of social systems. As such, “information” should be understood as discursive construct. Understanding “information” as discursive construct not only rids us of distorted views of communication and cognition implicated in influential conceptions of information, but also opens up questions concerning “information” for critical social analyses, which in turn leads to epistemological and methodological discussions.
- 能改變人類知識力量的事物(something as having causal powers for altering human minds)。 Brookes (1980): 知識方程式 K[S] + ΔI = K[S + ΔS]
- 以有意義方式呈現的資料或事實(data or facts that are processed and represented in a meaningful way)
- Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) hierarchy
- (1) 在資訊的生產與使用中的功能、意識形態、文化與社會意涵(the functions, ideologies, cultural and social implications of the production and use of information)；
Buckland’s “Information as Thing” (1991)
- It's Main argument:
- “the information systems can only deal with information-as-thing”
- information systems can only deal with “information-as-thing”—not “information-as-process,” “information-as-knowledge,”
- “informativeness” is the requirement of being “information”
“Information-as-thing is of special interest in the study of information systems. It is with information in this sense that information systems deal directly. Libraries deal with books; computer-based information systems handle data in the form of physical bits and bytes; museums deal directly with objects. The intention may be that users will become informed (information-as-process) and that there will be an imparting of knowledge (information-as-knowledge). But the means provided, what is handled and operated upon, what is stored and retrieved, is physical information (information-as-thing).” (Buckland, 1991, p. 352)
* 作者提問: but how do we decide whether something is informative or potentially informative? Under this definition, what would not be considered as information? If a book, a musical score, a DVD, and a sculpture can all be “information-as-thing,” could not a clock, a rock, and a person be “information-as-thing”? But if all material things or beings can be information, how is the notion of “information-as-thing” helpful?
- Evidence: Buckland 對於如何判斷一事物有資訊的根據
- either a book or a rock can be considered as “information-as-thing” depends on whether the book or the rock can be viewed as evidence.
- “Evidence, like information-as-thing, does not do anything actively. Human beings do things with it or to it. They examine it, describe it, and categorize it. They understand, misunderstand, interpret, summarize, or rebut it. They may even try to fake it, alter it, hide it, or destroy it.” (Buckland, 1991a, p. 353)
- 作者抓緊 Buckland 這一點，巧妙的論證 Buckland information-as-thing 中具有非實證論的意涵:
- 應當由人類決定什麼是資訊 (human beings are responsible for determining what could be “information,”)
it challenges the effective model for information. The notion of “information-as-thing” thus breaks away from the empiricist concepts of information because it does not posit information as being self-evident. The evidential quality, or informativeness, of “information-as-thing” also suggests that the determination of what is or is not “information” is, to some extent, based upon the consensus of a community, and is thus situational.
(information is what an-information-system-deal-with) (information is a thing/object that with informativeness) (informativeness is determined by evidence) (evidence is from what human doing to it)
the judgment and selection of “information” for information systems depends on an anticipated agreement on the usefulness or informativeness of “information” between the systems and the users.
Hence, “information” cannot be conceptualized as objective, subjective, or having causal power, but rather, a discursive one involving the understanding of communication structures and social systems, and not the least, the relations between them.
INFORMATION IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS
- “information-as-thing論” 對資訊科學是有用的概念，因為定義資訊為「資訊系統可以處理的東西」
- 但資訊科學不只有資訊檢索與資訊系統設計，如：資訊尋求、資訊行為、社會資訊學。其「資訊」定義往往並不清楚(Yet, the meaning of the term “information” is not usually clarified in these studies)。
- Frohmann (2004) 建議，將「資訊」作為一個研究領域中的總稱(umbrella term)，而不要太在意到底是什麼。
suggests, “information” is used as an umbrella term for a broad area of study without much concern about what “information” itself might be.
作者認為可參考 Ekbia and Evans (2009) 的地主決策歷程研究。如何處理在社會情境中的資訊：
- regimes of information: 資訊體制
The study shows that “information” is enacted from social practices of daily life and that “information” is of different types within a social situation.
- 在不同的價值體制(regimes of worth)中，有不同種類的資訊。
- 價值體制: 源自於 Boltanski & Thévenot (1991, On justification) “polity model”(政體模式)
- (1) information as measurement data, 可量測的資料
- (2) information as commodity, 有用的物品
- (3) information as documentation, 文件
- (4) information as message, 訊息
- (5) information as anecdote, 軼事趣聞
- (6) information as intuition. 直覺、感覺
Boltanski & Thévenot (1991) 區分西方六種不同正當性的價值體系，並以Polity(政體，政府體制)稱之。
INFORMATION AS DISCURSIVE CONSTRUCT
- Information is by consensus. 彼此講好的才是資訊。
- Information as discursive construct. 作為論述性建構的資訊。強調資訊必須處於特定的社會文化脈絡中。
In other words, it is discursively constructed. The reasons for the consensus on what is and is not considered “information,” however, demand further inquiries. For, “consensus” regarding information involves social negotiations, cultural forms (such as language), economic and political values and social-cultural arrangements.