Publishing studies: the search for an elusive academic object

Sophie Noël



This paper questions the validity of the so-called “publishing studies” as an academic discipline, while trying to situate them within the field of social sciences and to contextualize their success. It argues that a more appropriate frame could be adopted to describe what people studying the transformations of book publishing do – or should do – both at a theoretical and methodological level.
The paper begins by providing an overview of the scholarly and academic context in France as far as book publishing is concerned, highlighting its genesis and current development. It goes on to underline the main pitfalls that such a sub-field as publishing studies is faced with, before making suggestions as to the bases for a stimulating analysis of publishing, making a case for an interdisciplinary approach nurtured by social sciences. The paper is based on a long-term field study on independent presses in France, together with a survey of literature on the subject.


publishing studies; book publishing; methodology; social sciences

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Libellarium (Online). ISSN 1846-9213 © 2008


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.