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A Bourdieusian Approach to the Bibliometric Study of Emerging Fields: The Case of Sustainability Science
Marco Schirone is a PhD student at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science/iSchool (University of Borås) and a librarian at the Department of Communication and Learning in Science (Chalmers University of Technology). His PhD project aims to develop new bibliometric approaches based on Pierre Bourdieu's sociology and to apply them to the study of sustainability science.
The many threats to the human and ecological environment, for instance climate change, have made the topics of the sustainability and sustainable development highly relevant for several scholarly fields, if not all. While policy initiatives such as Agenda 2030 have underlined the need to facing “sustainability issues” from an array of possible scientific angles, a new science of sustainability has emerged in the last two decades—sustainability science.
Bibliometrics is the quantitative study of science based on publications and has traditionally been used to investigate the characteristics of research fields. The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has also been interested in the formation of scientific fields, and the relation of power involved in this process.
In my talk, I will briefly present my PhD project, which aims to combine bibliometric methods and Bourdieu’s theories and apply the resulting framework to the study of the emerging field of sustainability science. I will also present the findings of one of the studies included in the thesis, where I have examined the leading journals of the field.