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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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Sociability in Social Research

Sociability in Social Research

Ritual, Play, and Ambiguity

(p.60) Chapter 5 Sociability in Social Research
Sustaining Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Regina F. Bendix

Kilian Bizer

Dorothy Noyes

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers the research project as a temporary, liminal community, always at risk of dispersal from external incentives and internal frustrations. Participant commitment can be sustained through the traditional mechanism of ritual, while intellectual insight advances in play; junior researchers can animate both modes of sociability and achieve influence thereby. Shared space and shared time coordinate planned interactions and also facilitate spontaneous emergences. Examples from the Göttingen Interdisciplinary Working Group on Cultural Property illustrate the intellectual payoffs of coffee machines, dancing, visual project mapping, and writing the grant renewal application as exercises in social as well as intellectual coordination. In the middle stages of research, a tolerance for conceptual ambiguity at the project level can facilitate lower-level successes and interactions.

Keywords:   interdisciplinarity, commitment mechanisms, community, liminality, sociability, play, ritual, junior researchers, ambiguity

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