Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

Climate change. Extremist networks. The disappearing middle class. The obesity epidemic. Data privacy. Gentrification. Urban farming. Sexual assault on campuses. Twitter revolutions. Binge watching of television serials. Legislative paralysis. Helicopter parenting. Online music sharing. ...

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1. The Interdisciplinary Project as Social Form

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pp. 1-12

Interdisciplinarity is more than a buzzword. Informal and spontaneous interdisciplinarities are all around us. The true originals among scientists, motivated by a curiosity that overrides professional decorum, pick up tools where they find them and use them to address their problem as they see fit. ...

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2. Zones, Exchanges, Boundaries, Communities: Thin and Thick Interdisciplinarity

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pp. 13-27

The interdisciplinarity boom has been with us for some years, long enough that interdisciplinarity has “become an issue and an object of enquiry for governments, funding agencies and researchers themselves” (Barry et al. 2008: 21). In chapter 1 we pointed to such practical assessments as the 2005 report of the U.S. National Academies. ...

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3. From Cool Phenomena to Hot Problems Slogans and Stances in the Research Group

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pp. 28-45

To define a research topic is to create a boundary object, even when an individual scholar works within her own discipline. The topic mediates between her own interests, the history of her discipline, the conversations of her colleagues, and her immediate and long-term professional incentives. It is inflected by her interactions with students and by the kind of institution that employs her. ...

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4. Building Trust and Respecting Suspicion

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pp. 46-59

The overlapping liminalities of interdisciplinarity in the hot zone of social problem research call for careful shepherding by the project leaders if participants are to make a successful passage toward insight and “outcomes.” Liminality, the in-between state of indeterminacy and possibility, varies in gravity and in the threat it poses to the everyday: inverting Stalin, ...

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5. Sociability in Social Research: Ritual, Play, and Ambiguity

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pp. 60-76

Good intentions need social reinforcement if trust is to be created within the interdisciplinary hot zone. Longstanding communities develop rituals to instill dispositions and build legitimacy, guide transitions, and address crises. In a simpler fashion, interdisciplinary projects can create both containment walls that prevent the dispersal of actors and positive foci of attention to bring them into contact. ...

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6. Holding Up and Folding Up

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pp. 77-93

We’ve gotten the second round of the grant. Several of the first cohort of PhD students are still struggling to finish, and the new ones are crying for attention, but the senior faculty are bone-weary from the push to complete the massive renewal application amid the rest of their work lives. ...

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7. Toward a Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Recommendations

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pp. 94-108

Interdisciplinary social research must be made sustainable.1 It must be more than a fete in the corridors before the departmental doors reclose. But it must be less than the dissolution of the disciplines whose diverse perspectives justify it in the first place. It should refresh rather than exhaust, which means that the administrative load must be reduced, ...

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Coda

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pp. 109-110

We began this book on a hiking trip, and mountains are conducive to allegory. Thus we could map interdisciplinarity in yet another way.
We are coming from different places and distances to assemble at the trailhead. We are not quite clear about our destination: is it there, well-signed ...

Notes

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pp. 111-120

References

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pp. 121-126

Index

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pp. 127-130

About the Authors

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