Interdisciplinarity: Reconfigurations of the Social and Natural Sciences, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover


Reconfigurations of the Social and Natural Sciences, 1st Edition

Edited by Andrew Barry, Georgina Born


294 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138843349
pub: 2014-09-12
Hardback: 9780415578929
pub: 2013-06-25
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pub: 2013-06-26
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The idea that research should become more interdisciplinary has become commonplace. According to influential commentators, the unprecedented complexity of problems such as climate change or the social implications of biomedicine demand interdisciplinary efforts integrating both the social and natural sciences. In this context, the question of whether a given knowledge practice is too disciplinary, or interdisciplinary, or not disciplinary enough has become an issue for governments, research policy makers and funding agencies. Interdisciplinarity, in short, has emerged as a key political preoccupation; yet the term tends to obscure as much as illuminate the diverse practices gathered under its rubric.

This volume offers a new approach to theorising interdisciplinarity, showing how the boundaries between the social and natural sciences are being reconfigured. It examines the current preoccupation with interdisciplinarity, notably the ascendance of a particular discourse in which it is associated with a transformation in the relations between science, technology and society. Contributors address attempts to promote collaboration between, on the one hand, the natural sciences and engineering and, on the other, the social sciences, arts and humanities. From ethnography in the IT industry to science and technology studies, environmental science to medical humanities, cybernetics to art-science, the collection interrogates how interdisciplinarity has come to be seen as a solution not only to enhancing relations between science and society, but the pursuit of accountability and the need to foster innovation.

Interdisciplinarity is essential reading for scholars, students and policy makers across the social sciences, arts and humanities, including anthropology, geography, sociology, science and technology studies and cultural studies, as well as all those engaged in interdisciplinary research. It will have particular relevance for those concerned with the knowledge economy, science policy, environmental politics, applied anthropology, ELSI research, medical humanities, and art-science.

Table of Contents

1. Interdisciplinarity: Reconfigurations of the Social and Natural Sciences by Andrew Barry and Georgina Born 2. How Disciplines Look by Simon Schaffer 3. Inter That Discipline! by Thomas Osborne 4. Fields and Fallows: A Political History of STS by Sheila Jasanoff 5. Unexpected Consequences and An Unanticipated Outcome by Marilyn Strathern and Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill 6. Consuming Anthropology by Lucy Suchman 7. Where Natural and Social Science Meet? Reflections On An Experiment in Geographical Practice by Sarah J. Whatmore 8. Multiple Environments: Accountability, Integration and Ontology by Gisa Weszkalnys and Andrew Barry 9. Ontology and Antidisciplinarity by Andrew Pickering 10. Logics of Interdisciplinarity: The Case of Medical Humanities by Monica Greco 11. Art-Science: From Public Understanding to Public Experiment by Georgina Born and Andrew Barry

About the Editors

Andrew Barry is Professor of Political Geography at the University of Oxford.

Georgina Born is Professor of Music and Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

About the Series


Culture, Economy and the Social

This series establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change. It publishes empirically-based research that is theoretically informed, that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural and economic change is framed and made visible, and that is attentive to perspectives that tend to be ignored or side-lined by grand theorising or epochal accounts of social change. The series addresses the diverse manifestations of contemporary capitalism, and considers the various ways in which the `social', `the cultural' and `the economic' are apprehended as tangible sites of value and practice. It is explicitly comparative, publishing books that work across disciplinary perspectives, cross-culturally, or across different historical periods.

We are particularly focused on publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:

  • Cultural consumption
  • Cultural economy
  • Cities and urban change
  • Materiality, sociality and the post-human
  • Culture and media industries
  • Culture and governance
  • Emerging forms of cultural and economic practice

The series is actively engaged in the analysis of the different theoretical traditions that have contributed to critiques of the `cultural turn'. We are particularly interested in perspectives that engage with Bourdieu, Foucauldian approaches to knowledge and cultural practices, Actor-network approaches, and with those that are associated with issues arising from Deleuze's work around complexity, affect or topology. The series is equally concerned to explore the new agendas emerging from current critiques of the cultural turn: those associated with the descriptive turn for example. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity thus aims at enriching theoretical and methodological discussion, building awareness of the common ground has emerged in the past decade, and thinking through what is at stake in those approaches that resist integration to a common analytical model.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries