Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 261–274 | Cite as

Viewing Publications Through an Anthropological Lens: Arab Publications on Educational Technology as a Case Study

  • Abdulrahman Essa Al LilyEmail author


This study asks the philosophical question: is the activity of academic authoring influenced by historical occasions and cultural norms? It uses Arab studies in the field of educational technology to examine this question. The study first generated a list of all the publications since the foundation of this field (i.e. a list of around 4000 academic writings). It then derived descriptive statistics from this list. It then interviewed 27 academics, who were asked to help interpret these statistics. The main finding was that the publishing activity was partially influenced by the wider Arab culture and its history. This suggests that publications (and, perhaps, any other forms of ‘achievement’) can be ‘read’ as records of wider social cultures and historical events, almost in the same way that archaeologists and geologists read landscapes and what remains of ancient societies. Publications should be analysed as ‘inscribed spaces’ on which a certain society ‘writes’ their presence, concerns and matters. Publications should be seen as having their own ‘biographies’ that detail the cultural, social, economic and political features of the milieu in which publications are written. Bearing this implication in mind, it is well worth unearthing the ‘archaeological’ and ‘geological’ dimensions of academic publications.


History Information Knowledge Archaeology Anthropology Educational technology Publication 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational TechnologiesKing Faisal UniversityAl AhsaSaudi Arabia

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