Conflict, Controversy, Compromise, and Compression: The Pragmatics of Transdisciplinary (Development) Projects
Drawing upon qualitative interviews, this article narrates central controversies and conflicts that scholars working in the field of “development” face in their daily work. Based on how these conflicts and controversies have been reconstructed, I place them in the discourse on transdisciplinarity, drawing into question the claim to authority and novelty around the term “transdisciplinarity” that Western institutions have attributed themselves with in recent years. Finally, I turn to the question of collaboration: How can transdisciplinary projects deal with the fact of pluralism on the one hand and the necessity to work towards shared problem definitions, solutions, and strategies on the other? In this context, I make a case against transdisciplinarity’s often-held conceptions of harmony, comprehensiveness and total systems as well as unity and for compromise, partiality and joint contextual strategies. The “art of deliberation”, thus, replaces the notion of transcendence as a central competence of transdisciplinary scholars.
Anderson, E. (2017). Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring Edition 2017). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/feminism-epistemology/
Bernstein, H. (2007). The antinomies of development studies. Journal Für Entwicklungspolitik, 23(2), 12–27.
Breitenbach, A., & Choi, Y. (2017). Pluralism and the unity of science. The Monist, 100(3), 391–405.
Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge.
Campbell, R. (1998). Illusions of paradox: A feminist epistemology naturalized. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Chang, H. (2012). Is water H2O?: Evidence, realism and pluralism. Cambridge, UK: Springer.
Chayan, V. (n.d.). Thai Baan Research: An overview. Retrieved from https://www.iucn.org/downloads/thai_baan_research_an_overview_1.pdf
Choi, B. C. K., & Pak, A. W. P. (2006). Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 1. Definitions, objectives, and evidence of effectiveness. Clinical and Investigative Medicine, 29(6), 351–364.
Collins, P. H. (1986). Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of Black feminist thought. Social Problems, 33(6), 14–32.
Cribb, R. (2006). Region, academic dynamics, and promise of comparitivism: Beyond studying “Southeast Asia”? In C. Chou & V. Houben (Eds.), Southeast Asian Studies: Debates and new directions (pp. 45–64). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
Dupré, J. (1995). The disorder of things: Metaphysical foundations of the disunity of science. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press.
European Commission. (2018). Erasmus+: Capacity building (higher education). Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/opportunities/organisations/innovation-good-practices/capacity-building-higher-education_en
European Union. (2016). Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education: EU Support to Higher Education Institutions Around the World (No. 2014-3663/004). Retrieved from https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/sites/eacea-site/files/capacitybuildinginhighereducation_b5_web.pdf
Felt, U., Igelsböck, J., Schikowitz, A., & Völker, T. (2013). Growing into what? The (un-)disciplined socialisation of early stage researchers in transdisciplinary research. Higher Education, 65(4), 511–524.
Fleck, L. (1935). Genesis and development of a scientific fact. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Gläser, J., & Laudel, G. (2010). Experteninterviews und Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag.
Haraway, D. (1988). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575–599.
Harriss, J. (2002). Depoliticizing development: The World Bank and social capital. London, UK: Anthem Press.
Kellert, S. H. (2006). Disciplinary pluralism for science studies. In S. H. Kellert, H. E. Longino, & C. K. Waters (Eds.), Scientific pluralism (vol. 19, pp. 215–231). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Kinzel, K., & Kusch, M. (2018). De-idealizing disagreement, rethinking relativism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 26(1), 40–71.
KNOTS. (2019). About the teaching manual. Retrieved from https://www.knots-eu.com/about-the-teaching-manual
Kothari, U. (2007). Geographies and histories of development. Journal Fur Entwicklungspolitik, 23(2), 28–45.
Kothari, U. (2016). A radical history of development studies: Individuals, institutions and ideologies. London, UK: Zed Books Ltd.
Kotter, R., & Balsiger, P. W. (1999). Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity: A constant challenge to the sciences. Issues in Integrative Studies, 17, 87–120.
Lawrence, R. J. (2004). Housing and health: From interdisciplinary principles to transdisciplinary research and practice. Futures, 36(4), 487–502.
Longino, H. E. (2006). Theoretical pluralism and the scientific study of behavior. In S. H. Kellert, H. E. Longino, & C. K. Waters (Eds.), Scientific Pluralism (vol. 19, pp. 102–131). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
McCargo, D. (2006). Rethinking Southeast Asian politics. In C. Chou & V. Houben (Eds.), Southeast Asian Studies: Debates and new directions (pp. 102–122). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
Molteberg, E., & Bergstrøm, C. (2000). Our common discourse: Diversity and paradigms in Development Studies [Working Paper Number 20]. Ås, Norway: Centre for International Environment and Development Studies, Agricultural University of Norway (NORAGRIC).
Mouffe, C. (2005). On the political. London, UK: Routledge.
Moulaert, F., & Maccallum, D. (2019). Advanced introduction to social innovation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Nickles, T. (2009). Life at the frontier: The relevance of heuristic appraisal to policy. Axiomathes, 19(4), 441.
Novy, A., Bärnthaler, R., & Heimerl, V. (2020). Zukunftsfähiges Wirtschaften. Weinheim, Germany: Beltz Juventas.
Olukoshi, A., & Nyamnjoh, F. B. (2007). Rethinking African development: Beyond impasse, towards alternatives. Journal für Entwicklungspolitik, 23(2), 94–105.
Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Piaget, J. (1972). The epistemology of interdisciplinary relationships. Interdisciplinarity: Problems of Teaching and Research in Universities, 127–139.
Rahnema, M. (1997). Towards post-development: Searching for signposts, a new language and new paradigms. In M. Rahnema & V. Bawtree (Eds.), The post-development reader (p. 304). London, UK: Zed Books Ltd.
Reckwitz, A. (2002). Toward a theory of social practices: A development in culturalist theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory, 5(2), 243–263.
Rigg, J. (2002). Southeast Asia: The human landscape of modernization and development. London, UK: Routledge.
Schmidt, L., & Pröpper, M. (2017). Transdisciplinarity as a real-world challenge: A case study on a North–South collaboration. Sustainability Science, 12(3), 365–379.
Scholz, R. W., & Marks, D. (2001). Learning about transdisciplinarity: Where are we? Where have we been? Where should we go? In J. T. Klein, R. Häberli, R. W. Scholz, W. Grossenbacher-Mansuy, A. Bill, & M. Welti (Eds.), Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem Solving among Science, Technology, and Society: An Effective Way for Managing Complexity (pp. 236–252). Basel, Switzerland: Birkhäuser Verlag.
Schuurman, F. J. (2007). Development studies: Work in progress. Journal Für Entwicklungspolitik, 23(2), 45–64. Šešelja, D. (2017). Scientific pluralism and inconsistency toleration. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 10(32), 1–29.
Spangenberg, J. H. (2011). Sustainability science: A review, an analysis and some empirical lessons. Environmental Conservation, 38(3), 275–287.
Stigendal, M., & Novy, A. (2018). Founding transdisciplinary knowledge production in critical realism: Implications and benefits. Journal of Critical Realism, 17(3), 203–220.
Sumner, A., & Tribe, M. A. (2008). International development studies: Theories and methods in research and practice. London, UK: SAGE Publications.
Van Breda, J., & Swilling, M. (2019). The guiding logics and principles for designing emergent transdisciplinary research processes: learning experiences and reflections from a transdisciplinary urban case study in Enkanini informal settlement, South Africa. Sustainability Science, 14, 823–841.
Copyright (c) 2020 Society for South-East Asian Studies (SEAS)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Articles published before December 2019 are licensed under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported. Articles published after that date are licensed under the following Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International.