Practising Interdisciplinarity

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Nico Stehr, Peter Weingart
University of Toronto Press, 2000 - Philosophy - 294 pages
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Academic disciplines provide a framework for the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next. Not only do they shape our education and understanding, they structure our professional lives. Interdisciplinarity, the reconfiguration of academic disciplines and the boundaries between them, has lately become a field of major interest to scholars and policy makers. This collection brings together the latest research and analysis from this emerging field.

The editors take as their central thesis the idea that the existing matrix of disciplines is dissolving, leading to fundamental changes in the traditional order of knowledge. Contributors to the volume include specialists from Canada, Australia, Europe, and the United States who focus on the actual practice of interdisciplinarity: the ways in which it is researched, organized, and taught in institutes and universities around the world. The role of funding bodies is also considered, revealing the relationship and the delineation of disciplines and their resource bases. Together, the essays offer first-hand insights into the operations and successes of some of the world's foremost interdisciplinary research centres. In acquainting us with the current state of interdisciplinary research the volume also considers the social and economic contexts that make such research possible.

 

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Contents

The Popularity Functions and Paradoxes
1
The Paradoxical Discourse
25
The Changing Topography of Science
43
Theoretical Framework
66
Mapping the New Cultures and Organization of Research
79
Nurturing Environments of Interdisciplinarity
111
Practising Interdisciplinary Studies
134
Cognitive Science as an Interdisciplinary Endeavour
154
Interdisciplinary Research at the Caltech Beckman Institute
194
The Perspective of the Funders
245
Some Observations on External Funding
260
Concluding Comments
270
CONTRIBUTORS
291
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About the author (2000)

Peter Weingart is a professor at the Institute for Science and Technology Studies, University of Bielefeld, Germany. Nico Stehr is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta. During the 2000/2001 academic year, he held fellowships at the Hanse Centre for Advanced Studies and the Centre for Advanced Cultural Studies, in Germany.

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