Applying Bourdieu's field theory to analyze the changing status of the research librarian


  • Charlotte Nordahl Wien The University Library of Southern Denmark
  • Bertil F. Dorch The University Library of Southern Denmark



research librarians, Bourdieu field theory


Research librarians no longer need to perform as many of the traditional chores of the research library. This is due to many factors like digitalization, changing research policies and changes in researchers’ behaviour. With these changes also comes a demand for new skills. We seek an answer to how this demand can be met. We argue that changes that have taken place in the research library have also led to a loss of prestige for the research librarians. We use Bourdieu’s field theory to analyse the power struggles in the academic field and in the field of the research library and to identify means of reclaiming the previous prestigious position in both fields.  We end up creating a 60 ECTS framework for a flexible part-time master’s program for research librarians. The first cohort of students has already been enrolled and they evaluate the program in very positive terms.


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How to Cite

Wien, C. N., & Dorch, B. F. (2018). Applying Bourdieu’s field theory to analyze the changing status of the research librarian. LIBER Quarterly: The Journal of the Association of European Research Libraries, 28(1), 1–17.



Received 2018-03-26
Published 2018-05-29