Scholarship in abundance: Influence, engagement, and attention in scholarly networks


In an era of knowledge abundance, scholars have the capacity to distribute and share ideas and artifacts via digital networks, yet networked scholarly engagement often remains unrecognized within institutional spheres of influence. The purpose of this dissertation study is to explore the meanings constructed and enacted within the networked practices of 13 scholars actively engaged in both institutional and networked participatory scholarship. Using ethnographic methods including participant observation, interviews, and document analysis, the study investigates networks as sites of scholarship, with the intent of furthering institutional academia’s understanding of networked practices. The three papers that make up the dissertation each articulate a specific thread of intersection between institutional and networked scholarship: the first focuses on what counts as academic influence within networked circles, the second on networks’ terms of value and reward, and the third on the relationships between attention, care, and vulnerability in scholarly networks. Together, the papers conclude that networked scholarly practices of engagement align broadly with those of academia, yet enable and demand scholars’ individual cultivation of influence, visibility, and audiences. Thus networked scholarship rewards connection, collaboration, and curation between individuals rather than roles or institutions, fostering cross-disciplinary and public engagement and a bridging of the personal/professional divide. The study contributes to knowledge by situating networked scholarly practices within the scholarly tradition, while articulating the terms on which knowledge abundance and networked practices open up new spheres of opportunity and vulnerability for scholars

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This paper was published in IslandScholar.

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