Beyond Interdisciplinarity: Boundary Work, Communication, and Collaboration in the 21st Century

ISBN : 9780197571149

Julie Thompson Klein
176 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2021
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Beyond Interdisciplinarity examines the broadening meaning of core concept across academic disciplines and other forms of knowledge. In this book, Associate Editor of The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity and internationally recognized scholar Julie Thompson Klein depicts the heterogeneity and boundary work of inter- and trans-disciplinarity in a conceptual framework based on an ecology of spatializing practices in transaction spaces, including trading zones and communities of practice. The book includes both "crossdisciplinary" work (encompassing multi-, inter-, and trans-disciplinary forms) as well as "cross-sector" work (spanning disciplines, fields, professions, government and industry, and communities). The first section of the book defines and explains boundary work, discourses of interdisciplinarity, and the nature of interdisciplinary fields. In the second section, Klein examines dynamics of working across disciplines, including communication, collaboration, and learning with concrete examples and lessons from research projects and programs that transcend traditional fields. The closing chapter examines reasons for failure and success then presents gateways to literature and other resources. Throughout the book, Klein emphasizes the roles of contextualization and historical change while factoring in the shifting relationship of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, ascendancy of transdisciplinarity, and intersections with other constructs including Mode 2 knowledge production, convergence, team science, and postdisciplinarity. The conceptual framework she provides also includes the role of boundary objects, agents, and organizations in brokering differences and creating for platforms for change. Klein further explains why translation, interlanguage, and a communication boundary space are vital to achieving intersubjectivity and collective identity. They foster not only pragmatics of negotiation and integration but also reflexivity, transactivity, and co-production of knowledge with stakeholders beyond the academy. Rhetorics of holism and synthesis compete with instrumentalities of problem solving and transgressive critiques. However, typical warrants today include complexity, contextualization, collaboration, and socially-robust knowledge. Crossing boundaries remains complex, but this book guides readers through the density of pertinent literature while expanding understandings of crossdisciplinary and cross-sector work.


Foreword, Frederic Darbellay and Catherine Lyall
Part I
Chapter 1: Boundary Work
Chapter 2: Discourses of Boundary Crossing
Chapter 3: Interdisciplinary Fields
Part II
Chapter 4: Communicating and Collaborating
Chapter 5: Learning
Chapter 6: From Failing to Succeeding

About the author: 

Julie Thompson Klein is Professor of Humanities Emerita at Wayne State University and International Research Affiliate in the Transdisciplinarity Lab at ETH-Zurich. She was Visiting Foreign Professor at Shimane University in Japan, Fulbright Professor at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, Foundation Visitor at the University of Auckland, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Victoria. Klein is the author and editor of numerous books, articles and chapters on inter- and trans-disciplinary research, education, and problem solving. Associate Editor of The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity, she is past president of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies and a recipient of the Kenneth Boulding Award for outstanding scholarship on interdisciplinarity.

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