Dissertation Information for Judith Elvira Weedman
- Judith Elvira Weedman
- Library and Information Science
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (1989)
- Helen Lloyd Snoke
- Lewis L. Coser
- Frederick Lewis Goodman
- Miranda Pao
- David Hessler
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Communication patterns among cultural gatekeepers; a sociometric analysis of interactions among editors, reviewers, and critics of children's literature
Abstract: The role of gatekeeper in the world of art is an important one. Works of art rarely pass directly from the creator to the consumer; it is inevitable that the individuals who stand between the two will have an impact on the passage. An understanding of the extent to which individuals with these intermediary roles draw from and contribute to a shared pool of ideas contributes to an understanding of culture and how it develops.
A mailed questionnaire was used to survey three professional groups of cultural gatekeepers, editors, reviewers, and literary critics of children's literature. The intent was to determine what communication structures provided shared communication for the population as a whole and what structures exist within each group separately. Both formal and informal communication channels were examined.
The greatest shared communication for the population of gatekeepers was found to take place through a boundary-spanning social circle which included 74.4% of the respondents. An invisible college was identified within the social circle. Formal channels provided less shared communication, but still were an important part of the communication structure; the most important journals and associations united between 25% and 50% of the population.
Formal channels were more important for communication within the groups as separate entities, with the most important journals and associations uniting 40% to 85% of the group members. Social circles did exist within each of the professional groups, but in two of the three cases fewer of the members belonged to the professional circle than belonged to the large social circle.
This communication pattern suggests that a diversity of ideas and information gained through group-specific formal communication channels may be brought to the informal channels and disseminated throughout the population of gatekeepers through the social network.
Respondents viewed their role as gatekeepers as somewhat limited. Their greatest perceived impact was on adult opinions about children's literature; from 17.5% to 53.8% of the members of the three groups believed they had a great deal of effect in this area.