Interdisciplinarity: Building Bridges and Nurturing a Complex Ecology of Ideas
Much discussion of interdisciplinarity shows one or more of the following defects: 1. conceptual confusion - lack of a refined and consistent set of terms for analysing interdisciplinarity and its variants; 2. utopianism - lack of realism about constraints and possibilities in the social organization of science; 3. monism - advocacy of a single simple organizational model, rather than a complex heterogeneous model with multiple niches, nodes and forms of interaction. The paper presents a more refined, realistic, and pluralistic approach to interdisciplinarity. It does this with special reference to development studies, whose interest in long-run change and common combination of a case-focus and policy-orientation guide it strongly to interdisciplinarity; and to problems raised by the dominant economics conception of itself as a self-sufficient alpha-status discipline. The paper conceptualizes a range of types of interdisciplinarity, and considers how far exemplars of each—such as social capital theory and entitlements analysis—offer ‘bridging capital’, accessible paths to effective social analysis.
|Journal||ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development|
Gasper, D.R. (2004). Interdisciplinarity: Building Bridges and Nurturing a Complex Ecology of Ideas. In AK Giri (ed.), Creative Social Research, Delhi: Sage, and Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 2004 (pp. 1–32). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/50670