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Sustaining Interdisciplinary CollaborationA Guide for the Academy$
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Regina Bendix, Kilian Bizer, and Dorothy Noyes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040894

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040894.001.0001

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Zones, Exchanges, Boundaries, Communities

Zones, Exchanges, Boundaries, Communities

Thin and Thick Interdisciplinarity

Chapter:
(p.13) Chapter 2 Zones, Exchanges, Boundaries, Communities
Source:
Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Author(s):

Regina F. Bendix

Kilian Bizer

Dorothy Noyes

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040894.003.0002

This chapter spells out the implications of prevailing metaphors for interdisciplinary process: the trading zone or contact zone, which generates pidgin languages; the gift exchange; the encounter of different communities of practice around a boundary object (the research topic), mediated by brokers. Inflected by academic hierarchies of prestige, each metaphor plays out differently in practice, offering a continuum of interactional intensity. The choice of a thinner or thicker mode of interdisciplinary encounter has implications for knowledge production, entailing tradeoffs between predictability and discovery, accountability and democratic participation.

Keywords:   interdisciplinarity, contact zone, trading zone, communities of practice, boundary objects, brokers, exchange, democratic participation, accountability, interaction

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