1st Edition

Interdisciplinarity and Wellbeing A Critical Realist General Theory of Interdisciplinarity

    186 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    186 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this book, the authors provide a much-needed general theory of interdisciplinarity and relate it to health/wellbeing research and professional practice. In so doing they make it possible for practitioners of the different disciplines to communicate without contradiction or compromise, resolving the tensions that beset much interdisciplinary work.

    Such a general theory is only possible if we assume that there is more to being (ontology) than empirical being (what we can measure directly). Therefore, the unique approach to interdisciplinarity applied in this book starts from ontology, namely that there is a multimechanismicity (a multiplicity of mechanisms) in open systems, and then moves to epistemology. By contrast, the mainstream approach, which fails to acknowledge ontology, is “unserious” and tends to result in a methodological hierarchy, unconducive of interdisciplinarity, in which empiricist science is overtly or tacitly assumed to be the superior version of science.

    This book is primarily aimed at those people interested in improving health and wellbeing – such as researchers, policy-makers, educators, and general practitioners. However, it will also be useful to academics engaged in the broader academic debate on interdisciplinary metatheory.

    1. Introduction

    Part I: Antinomies of Mainstream Interdisciplinarity

    2. Overview of the Contemporary Literature

    3. Contemporary Ways to Justify Interdisciplinarity

    Part II: A Critical Realist General Theory of Interdisciplinarity

    4. Core Concepts of Critical Realism

    5. Critical Realism and Social Science

    6. The Ontological Case for Interdisciplinarity

    7. The Seven Steps to a Deeper Understanding of Ontology

    8. Critical Realism and the Alternative Metatheories/Methodologies

    Part III: Applied Interdisciplinary Research

    9. Biophysical Interventions Are Not Enough: the Hidden (Holistic) Healing Ensemble

    10. The Seven Enigmas of Healing

    11. The Biopsychosocial Approach, with Special Reference to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

    12. The Practical Organization of Interdisciplinary Co-operation

    13. Understanding Methodological Imperialism

    14. Interdisciplinarity in Action: Explaining the Epidemiology of HIV

    15. Concluding Considerations


    Roy Bhaskar was the originator of the philosophy of critical realism and the author of many acclaimed and influential works including A Realist Theory of Science (1975); The Possibility of Naturalism (1979); Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation (1986); Reclaiming Reality (1989); Philosophy and the Idea of Freedom (1991); Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom (1993); Reflections on Meta-Reality (2002); and From Science to Emancipation (2011).

    Berth Danermark is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. He is also the Director of Doctoral Studies (and founder member) of the Swedish Institute of Disability Research.

    Leigh Price is Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Learning and Research Centre, Rhodes University, South Africa, and Editor of the Journal of Critical Realism.

    This book is the definitive critical realist account, in accessible prose, of what science must do to maximize its understanding of the world, and in particular human wellbeing and flourishing.

    Mervyn Hartwig, editor and principal author of Dictionary of Critical Realism