’Interdisciplinarity’ and Epistemic Authority in Academic Discourse: Towards a Field Theoretical Framework

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    This presentation discusses the development of a field theoretical framework to explore the discursive constructions of ’interdisciplinarity’(id) in academic discourse, with the purpose of identifying epistemic authority on research processes involving more than one ’discipline’. The literature on ’id’ is vast, and dispersed across fields such as e.g. interdisciplinary studies, social epistemology, sociology, philosophy, and history of science. The literature is characterized by considerable terminological and conceptual ambiguity. Often ’id’ is addressed as a generic phenomenon, with analyses of the patterns of knowledge growth and/or university politics over the course of 21th and 21st centuries; other strands of research more specifically address ’integration’ of knowledge originating in two or more ’disciplines’. Definitions of ’id’ have been advanced for 25+ years (OECD, 1972; Klein 1990, 1996, 2010, 2014), and this research is often accompanied by observations that discussions of ’id’ are rarely informed by the voluminous literature available. I will discuss different ways of opening up ’id’ to circumvent conventional conceptualizations such as e.g. multi- inter- and transdisciplinarity as they appear in the literature and try to operationalize categories of thought more broadly including ’boundary work’ (Gieryn, 1983; Klein, 2008, 2014; Lamont and Molnár, 2002), ’interpenetration’ (Fuller & Collier, 2004), ’negotiation of epistemic standards’ (Madsen, 2015) and ’trading zones’ (Galison,1997). The focus of the presentation is the very process of developing a relational framework, including a language that helps me objectify my relation to the object of ’id’ and get away from pre-constructed categories. Thus, the construction of my object of research involves several interrelated processes and questions: 1) how to open up and delimit operationalizations of ’id’ to facilitate empirical investigation? 2) how to use ’field’ or ’discipline’ as a point of departure for analysis at the same time as continuously questioning if they are also fields in a Bourdieusian framework? 3) how to develop and objectify my own ”point from somewhere”? The exploration of discursive constructions of ’id’ will form the basis for subsequent analyses of epistemic authority on ’id, including analyses of citations to provide an empirical measure of scientific capital.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages2
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventDiscourseNet 17: Reflexivity and Critique in Discourse - University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
    Duration: 16 Mar 201618 Mar 2016
    Conference number: 17


    ConferenceDiscourseNet 17
    LocationUniversity of Navarra
    Internet address

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