Publishing Studies and Theoretical Modelling: The Case for a Portuguese Case

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


As an emerging field in search of consolidation and of a place in the agenda of the social sciences, namely of the sociology of culture, publishing studies, a term coined in the mid-nineties, intend to create a scientific narrative of the typographic construction of the world. This intention builds upon the use of concepts like “culture shaping” or “canon making”, and tries an understanding and explanation of the processes that revolve around the printed word – nowadays, also the digital one – having the book as paradigm, both as object and idea. Focusing on the complex – often filled with tension and contradiction – universe of the publishing industry and agents, the editorial studies seek institutionalization as a recognized and autonomous field of knowledge, using among other strategies one of the oldest underpinning practices at the disposal of science: the creation and development of theoretical models that are comprehensive and analytically capable of an understanding of the plural publishing and publisher’s world. This oral presentation attempts to challenge the trends that, within the emergence of editorial studies, contribute to the fast academic establishing and institutional validation trough modelling, therefore putting forward a critique of the – not necessarily intentional – hegemonic consequences inherent to this option. The challenge consists not in the suppression of the theoretical proposals and their generalization plans, but rather in the critical perspective towards a modelling temptation that works as a production centre of explanatory modes imposing a discourse on the scientific periphery, and ignoring the native sources and traditions. In an effort to illustrate this point of view the author resorts to the Portuguese case during the Estado Novo period, concerning the relation between publishing and twentieth century authoritarian regimes.
Period3 Sep 2009
Event title9th Conference of the European Sociological Association
Event typeConference
Conference number9
LocationLisbon, Portugal
Degree of RecognitionInternational