Conference PaperPDF Available

The interdisciplinary study of Late Gothic heritage through the application of data technologies. pp. 24-25

  • Andalusian Historical Heritage Institute (IAPH)


This paper is the result of an investigation conducted by the present authors in the ETSA of Seville, in collaboration with other Centers and Research groups: Late Gothic Network, CulturePlex Lab at the University of Western Ontario, GPAC research group at the University of Basque Country and the Faculty of Geography and History at the University of Seville. Different institutions, disciplines (architecture, geography, archaeology, history, computer science, data science and intelligent science) and tools designing new methods to improve the perspective in the field of heritage and culture by considering social, political, economic and cultural evolutions. The process of interdisciplinary teamwork itself is part of our objectives and it ́s progress is highly perceived throughout the development of the research. Although in the first year of research most of the time was devoted to structuring our own disciplinary 'languages', this also helped us to better understand the different fields and facilitate our communication in generating and processing the documents and information we needed.
Interdisciplinary Futures: Open the Social Sciences 20 Years Later
19th and 20th January 2017, Lisbon, Portugal
Interdisciplinary Futures: Open the Social Sciences 20 Years Later
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal 19-20 January 2017
Thursday 19th January
08:30-09:00 Registration
09:00-09:30 Opening words
Dr. Guilherme de Oliveira Martins (FCG), Olivia Bina and Marta Varanda
(ULisboa, INTREPID), Uskali Mäki (TINT)
9:30-10:30 Immanuel Wallerstein
Forty Years Later: Are the Social Sciences More Open?
10:30-10:45 Coffee & Tea
12:15-13:15 Lunch
14:45-15:00 Tea & Coffee
Auditorium 3
Session 1. The Gulbenkian Report,
Disciplinary Boundaries and the Social
Christian Dayé and Christian Fleck: After
the Death of Progress: What drives the
Social Sciences?
Gianluca Pozzoni: Beyond scientific
parochialism: A post-positivist approach to
the disciplinary divide
David Byrne: Open the Social Sciences - the
Applied fields of social science
Sala 2
Session 2. Interdisciplinary Research
Cultural Paradigms of
Maria Jose Haro Sly, Julien Demelenne
and Eric Mielants: Latin-American
“Buen Vivir/Good Living” contributions
to opening the Social Sciences.
Comments on the longue duree rigidity
of social science disciplines.
Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu: Opening the
Social Sciences to Problem-Solving
Mode: The Challenge of Being Critical
and Pragmatic
Manuela Guilherme: Research on
research in Brazil: Interdisciplinary and
intercultural inputs for meta-reflection
on inter- and intra-national research
group collaborations
Sala 1
Special Session on SSH and ID in EU Research: Session 1 Invited speakers to discuss
the status and challenges of SSH and interdisciplinarity in EU Funding
Sala 1:
Keynote Peter Fisch (of
Keynote Angela Liberatore (ERC, EC)
Keynote Rosario Macario (IST, ULisboa)
Auditorium 3
Session 3. Deflating Disciplinary
Martina Merz and Sabine Maasen: The
Dynamics of Transversal Research Fields:
Applying STS to STS
Chris Bissel: Convergence of the history
and sociology of technology from the mid-
Mathias Siems: Mapping Legal Research:
An Example of a Discipline between Social
Sciences, Humanities and Practice
social networks analysis
Sala 1
Session 4. The Social Sciences and their
Epistemological and Ontological Shifts
Jorge Correia Jesuino: Mediations
Klaus Gärtner: Cognitive Sciences and Their
Epistemological and Ontological Shifts
Diogo Silva da Cunha: Communication
Models, Communication Paradigms and
Disciplinary Dialogue
Olga Pombo: Observations on Past, Present
and Future Main Determinations of ID
Sala 1
Special Session on SSH and ID in EU Research: Session 2 Presentation and debate of LERU
report on ID and DG R&I report on SSH in H2020:
Keynote by Katrien Maes (LERU)
Keynote by Philippe Keraudren (DG R&I)
Discussant: Doris Alexander, Research Development Office, Trinity College Dublin
Auditorium 3
Session 5. Disciplines and
Tomi Kokkonen and Magdalena Malecka:
The distinction between epistemic and
institutional notions of discipline and why it
Uskali Mäki: Opening outwards:
Interdisciplinarity as intellectual
Mikko Salmela and Uskali Mäki: Emotional
tensions in interdisciplinary interaction
16:30-17:00 Tea & Coffee
17:00-18:00 Björn Wittrock
Social Sciences In Their Contexts: Five Transformative Period
19:00 Conference Dinner
Friday 20th January
09:00-10:00 Felicity Callard
The social sciences, life sciences and humanities: shifting plate tectonics
10:00-10:15 Tea & Coffee
11:45-12:00 Tea & Coffee
13:30-14:30 Lunch
16:00-16:30 Tea & Coffee
16:30-17:30 Stephen Turner
Digitalization and Disciplinarity: What Does “Open Science” Mean for Social
17:30-18:00 CLOSING PANEL
Immanuel Wallerstein, Björn Wittrock, Felicity Callard, Stephen Turner
Sala 1
Special Session on SSH and ID in EU Research: Session 3 Three break-out groups
from the session’s participants will identify questions and recommendations for the
future treatment of SSH and interdisciplinarity in EU programming
Auditorium 3
Session 7. Interdisciplinary
Miles MacLeod and Michiru Nagatsu:
When might ID collaboration work in
the Environmental Sciences: Models
from Philosophy of Science
Alkistis Elliott-Graves: Walking the
line: when disciplinary boundaries are
good for interdisciplinarity
Henrik Thorén and Johannes Persson:
Social Sciences for Sustainability?
Bridges and Boundaries
Sala 2
Session 8. Governing
Violeta Argudo Portal: Scaling up
research infrastructures:
bioinformatics and social sciences
Maureen Burgess: Fulfilling the
promise of IDR-Overcoming the
Roderick Lawrence: Interdisciplinary
Futures: Beyond Claims, Conjectures
and Contradictions
Auditorium 3
Session 9. Interdisciplinary Methods and
Virginia Ghiara: Big data for mechanistic
Menno Rol: How to build a scientific memory
in social policy
Emile Gayoso: The naturalization of social
sciences: a case study on semantic social
networks analysis
Sala 2
Session 10. Interdisciplinary Research Policies
Catherine Lyall: Policy responses to Open the
Social Sciences? Mixed messages for the
academic community
Bianca Vienni Baptista: Cultural configurations
and institutional conditions of inter- and
transdisciplinary knowledge production at
Barbara Hoenig: European research funding,
frontier research, and unintended consequences
of interdisciplinarity in the social sciences
Auditorium 3
Session 11. Using Data in ID Research
Chiara Carrozza: Re-conceptualizing social
research in the ‘digital era’. Issues of
scholarships, methods and epistemologies
Patricia Ferreira Lopes and Francisco Pinto
Puerto: The interdisciplinary study of Late
Gothic heritage through the application of
data technologies.
Tanya Araújo and Elsa Fontainha: The specific
shapes of gender imbalance in scientific
authorships: a network approach
Sala 1
Special Session: SSH and interdisciplinarity in
Portuguese Research: Panel
José Luís Cardoso (ICS - ULisboa)
Elsa Peralta (Centro de Estudos comparatistas
- ULisboa)
Helena Sousa (ICS - U Minho)
Maria Paula Meneses (CES U Coimbra)
Rui Santos (FCSH- UNL)
Forty Years Later: Are the Social Sciences More Open?
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University
Social Sciences In Their Contexts: Five Transformative Periods
Björn Wittrock, Swedish Collegium of Advanced Study
Despite perennial concerns among human beings about modes of regulating
human interaction, governance and distributive contestations, the social sciences
emerged as specific forms of practice in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth
centuries. In the following century and a half the social sciences have gradually, if
unevenly, been articulated and extended both in terms of knowledge claims and
in terms of their institutional consolidation and their spatial extension.
In the course of the last two decades, the position of the social sciences has
however become more precarious. Despite many claims to the contrary, I shall
argue that this has less to do with epistemic uncertainties - although there are
significant antinomies inherent in the presuppositions about the stability of social
categories inherent in most social sciences and more with transformations in
the nature and reach of the agency and interactions of human beings in their
global contexts.
The report “Open the Social Sciences” proposed an agenda for a deepening of
collaboration across disciplinary boundaries between different social sciences.
This agenda is still relevant and as urgent today as when it was proposed. In a
concluding section I shall highlight efforts currently underway that seek to
address these needs but also institutional and epistemic constraints
counteracting these efforts.
The Social Sciences, Life Sciences and Humanities: Shifting Plate Tectonics
Felicity Callard, Durham University
That the university calls, today, for interdisciplinarity should not allow us to forget
the long and rich twentieth-century history of intertwinements across disciplines
and domains of enquiry. But if the concept and practice of interdisciplinarity, then,
is hardly new, what do the moving plate tectonics of today’s academic disciplines
signify in terms of the state of, and future for, the social sciences? In this talk, I shall
reflect on some of the interdisciplinary social scientific research I have been
conducting in collaboration with other social scientists, with cognitive
neuroscientists, with humanities scholars and with artists to analyse points of
epistemological pressure. In particular, I reflect on what it would it mean for the
social sciences to make progress, today, in understanding humans through the
entanglements of what the sociological, phenomenological, physiological, cultural
and environmental. In so doing, I shall consider how older models -- such as the
‘bio-psycho-social’ model of health and illness -- need to be reconfigured in order
to do justice to the ontological challenges of thinking the human.
Digitalisation and Disciplinarity: What does “Open Science” Mean for
Social Science?
Stephen Turner, University of South Florida
Open the Social Sciences was an attempt to rethink the social sciences by
challenging aspects of the hierarchical, trickle-down, center-periphery disciplinary
model that had dominated the social sciences, and which was taken to exclude
voices from the global south and to be a barrier to interdisciplinary exchange. By
chance, however, a different kind of “open” movement was developing at the
same time, in the sciences but also elsewhere in the scholarly world, based on the
newly developed world wide web and the digitization of scientific output both in
the form of publication and data. Two related movements, Open Access (OA) and
an extended view of access that eventuated in the model of Responsible Research
and Innovation (RRI), emerged, together with organizational innovations known
as Post-normal science and Mode II science. Social science played only a small
role in these developments. This paper asks “why?” and discusses the difficulties
faced by social science in participating in the larger Open Science movement, as
well as the implications of OA in the narrow sense for the trickle-down
disciplinary model
Session 1.
After the Death of Progress: What drives the Social Sciences?
Christian Day, Department of Sociology, Alpen-Adria Universitt Klagenfurt,
Christian Fleck, Department of Sociology, Karl-Franzens-Universitt Graz, Austria
Philosophers of science and festive speakers agreed for a long time that a single
normative ideal guided the path of the social sciences: the idea of scientific progress.
For the sake of progress, it was said, the scientists’ task was to accumulate bits and
pieces of approved knowledge and to eliminate unprovable and false propositions. The
mechanism in force resembled evolution’s selection procedures or the efficient market
hypothesis; and just like them, it presented a powerful ideology, providing the actors
with an illusio (Bourdieu) that, by providing a normative infrastructure, integrated the
scientific field.
Throughout the recent decades, however, the work of philosophers, sociologists, and
historians science successfully dismantled the idea that scientific progress was the
main driver of the development of the social sciences. Part of the contemporary
unease, at least in some segments, with the very notion of “social science” stems from
the fact that while the idea of progress had been dismissed, the voids that this dismissal
created had not been filled again. If social science did not evolve according to the
teleological path inherent in the idea of progress, how else did it develop? If social
scientists were not guided by the ideal of progress anymore, what else did they believe
in? What or who directs science and scholarship after the demise of this idea, as a norm
and even more important: in reality?
With these questions in mind, we re-read Open the Social Sciences (Wallerstein et al.
1996). A basic result from this reading is that there is a curious shift from the pre-1945
period to the period afterwards in how the authors treat both the idea of progress and
the question what drives the social sciences. In all brevity, the argument shifts from an
externalist to an internalist perspective. While in the early period, societal and cultural
transformations seemed to drive the development of the social sciences, the crucial
factors shaping these sciences after 1945 appear to be of intellectual origin. Also, we
note that in contrast to the position taken in Open the Social Sciences , the intellectual
core of social science disciplines does not
consist in a departmentalization of cognitive objects, but in a departmentalization of
cognitive tools, perspectives, and partly techniques. Based on this reading, we
differentiate two types of intra-scientific progress: progress on the level of factual
knowledge, and progress on the theoretical and notional tools used to capture a
phenomenon. We then elaborate the following two theses: (1) In the social sciences,
progress on the level of factual knowledge is more likely to take place in local, i.e. non-
universal settings. (2) Disciplines, and not interdisciplinary fields, will remain the core
loci where progress on the theoretical and notional tools takes place, because the latter
resemble scientific-intellectual movements (Frickel and Gross 2005) and most often
show a rather rigid patterns of semi-ideological closure when it comes to theorizing.
Frickel, Scott, and Neil Gross. 2005. “A General Theory of Scientific/Intellectual
Movements.” American Sociological Review 70 (2): 204--32.
Wallerstein, Immanuel, Calestous Juma, Evelyn Fox Keller, Jrgen Kocka, Dominique
Lecourt, V. Y. Mudkimbe, Kinhide Miushakoji, Ilya Prigogine, Peter J. Taylor, and Michel-
Rolph Trouillot. 1996. Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission
on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. Mestizo Spaces - Espaces Mtisses. Stanford
(CA): Stanford University Press.
Beyond Essentialism and Universalism: A Realist Approach to the
Boundaries Between Disciplines
Gianluca Pozzoni, University of Milan
In 1996, the Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social
Sciences identified, among other things, a red thread in the evolution of the social
sciences that runs from the nineteenth-century application of the nomothetic model
borrowed from the natural sciences to the post-WWII quest for universalism in making
social scientific claims.
Recent “post-positivist” reassessments within the social scientific community seem to
have self-consciously deviated from this lineage on the grounds of a dissatisfaction with
the universalist reduction of all explanation to the nomothetic
model. This reduction, it is argued, was defended on the basis of an anti-realist
approach which allowed for criteria of explanatory accuracy to be replaced by ones of
nomological deductionism and methodological unity. Conversely, a reassessment is
advocated on the basis of a realist assumption that explanations can accurately
describe the causal processes actually occurring in the social world and therefore
should correspond to them.
Crucially, the Report saw the epistemological paradigm associated with the
nomothetic and universalist picture of science as the main cause of the 'parochialism'
that characterized the social sciences, the challenge to which ignited the demand to
'open the social sciences'. The realist framework, on the other hand, prescribes that
science aim at representing the world and demands that the status of disciplinary
boundaries be considered in terms of the actual degree of ontological heterogeneity of
social phenomena: divides among the different 'special sciences' are epistemically
justified to the extent that the social world is actually apportioned into 'regions'.
However, grounding the autonomy of the special sciences onto irreducible differences
between kinds of phenomena may be seen as an essentialist position that reifies
contingent sociological features of science and superimposes them onto the world.
Drawing on this, universalism may still have some currency in the form of
unificationism: insofar as comparable causal processes occur homogeneously across
different kinds of phenomena, the argument goes, they can be analysed by means of
univocal scientific methods and subsumed under a unifying explanatory theory. In the
social sciences, this seems to be the main rationale for justifying the imperialistic
tendencies of some explanatory models, the most prominent of which is perhaps the
theory of rational choice.
While retaining the basic ontological insight about the division of scientific labour
having an entirely contingent character, this paper will argue that other considerations
must be taken into account while assessing the epistemic value of scientific unification.
In practice, it will be argued, unification operates via successive reductions of particular
explanations to increasingly more general ones, and this happens at the expense of
explanatory realism: it is a long accepted fact of science that the generalizability of
scientific claims implies their systematic violation in reality.
The reasons for this, it will be argued, lie once again in a disregard for realistic
ontological assumptions about the make-up of the social world: unification via
reduction assumes, overtly or otherwise, that some hierarchy exists between classes
of phenomena, some of which (e.g. cognitive facts about human rationality) are
assumed to be more 'fundamental' or 'basic' than others (e.g. more 'rarefied' social
phenomena) and hence capable of explaining them away. Assuming such an
ontological hierarchy, however, amounts to another form of essentialism akin to the
ontological regionalism mentioned above.
The main claim of the paper, therefore, is that a realist, post-positivist approach to the
status of disciplinary boundaries requires that the relationships between the various
sciences be considered in the light of the actual relationships between the different
kinds of phenomena they seek to explain.
Open the Social Sciences - the Applied Fields of Social Science
David Byrne, Durham University
Open the Social Sciences addressed examples of interdisciplinary work in the social
sciences through a discussion primarily of Area Studies -- of work defined by reference
to a geographical area, for example Latin American Studies. It did not really take
account of the development of ‘Field Studies’, areas of academic work characterized
by a field of policy intervention and / or governance. We might consider here
particularly but not exclusively ‘Health Studies’ and ‘Urban Studies’ and take note of
the long history in the UK of the Academic field / discipline ‘Social Policy’. In this
contribution the role of interdisciplinarity in these areas of Applied Social Science will
be considered both in terms of overall review and with reference to a set of actual
research projects / programmes with which the author has been or is engaged. The
argument will draw: Applying Social Science (D.S. Byrne 2011 Bristol:Policy Press) which
addressed the role of social science in politics, policy and practice using arguments
from Open the Social Sciences and taking them forward through a sustained
engagement with the complexity frame of reference. The latter element was
developed in Byrne and Callaghan 2013 Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences: the
state of the art London: Routledge.
If the social sciences are going to make a useful contribution to issues of enormous
public concern they have to be both inter or even post disciplinary in academic style
and engage seriously with the implications of the complexity frame of reference. This
assertion will be illustrated by examples drawn from the following research project and
programmes, all of which have had this character and which have addressed / are
addressing classic wicked issues.
Health Inequality reduction in deprived localities in England -- see: Blackman, Wistow
and Byrne: ‘A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of factors associated with trends in
narrowing health inequalities in England.’ Social Science and Medicine 2011 72 12
1965-74 K4K4U (Knowledge for Use) EU Horizon 2020. When it comes to social policy,
we don’t really know how to put our research results to use. K4U aims to remedy this.
K4U will construct a radically new picture of how to use social science to build better
social policies Centre for Evaluating Complexity Across the Nexus -- Surrey -- a
programme explicitly addressing issues of evaluating interventions in complex systems.
Session 2
Latin-American “Buen Vivir/Good Living” Contributions to Opening the
Social Sciences. Comments on The Longue Duree Rigidity of Social Science
Maria Jose Haro Sly, Federal University of Santa Catarina / New University of Lisbon
Julien Demelenne, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
Eric Mielants, Fairfield University
The process of institutionalization of the Social Sciences among the XIX and XX
centuries and the creation of a ‘modern’ western liberal society led to the exclusion of
different social realities and non-western Weltanschauungen, which were distant from
hegemonic centers of production of knowledge. Indigenous Latin-American knowledge
was rejected in name of the positivism and science in the way sciences were
institutionalized. In last decade, the debate around the concept of Buen Vivir, (in its
different expressions: Sumak Kawsay, for Quechuas, Suma Qamaña for Aymaras, and
Teko Porã for Guaranis), enriched Latin-American epistemological debates. This
emergence was associated with the necessity to define urgent problems related to the
specific social and cultural context of the region. This inevitability of local knowledge in
Latin-America initiated debates, not just in the region but also worldwide. The
imperative of the opening the Social Sciences appears not only as a critic of disciplinary
/ interdisciplinary knowledge but also as a necessity of an intercultural approach
against hierarchical structures of power within the World-System, its Eurocentrism and
its intrinsically differentiation around class, gender, race, and culture.
Eurocentric hierarchy in the modern world system manifested itself not only in often
discussed political, military and economic reality, but also in the dominant
epistemology that emerged in Western institutions of higher learning that were
created to interpret the West vis-à-vis ‘the rest’, but also to formulate specific public
policies from which it could benefit, often parochialism disguised in universalist Truths.
In this paper, we would like to discuss the different approaches of this community-
centric, ecological-balanced and cultural-sensitivity concept. It will focus on the
rejection of the ontological distinction between humans and nature, and its possibility
to offer a critical reflection on local and global problems such as ecological crises and
pandemic diseases.
We will also raise questions about the ongoing artificial divides between the social
sciences and what can be done to de-center traditional metanarratives about
developmentalism and western notions of progress by critiquing the current
epistemological status quo. Envisioning a different way of ‘doing’ social science should
correspond with different attitudes and expectations about what it can be actually
used for; we conclude our paper by arguing that an epistemological shift from 20th
century century social science as an instrumental hegemonic project should evolve into
a more critical a emancipatory and intercultural project. This will require both
significant change for institutions as well as social scientists themselves.
Opening the Social Sciences to Problem-Solving Mode: The Challenge of
Being Critical And Pragmatic
Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de
Manila University
This paper argues for more salience of the problem-solving mode in the social sciences.
Just as mathematicians developed the arithmetic of complex numbers, which are
numbers that do not exist in reality but are necessary for solving equations that have
real-life applications, university-based social scientists should seek out spaces to see
how an ideal situation could be while considering real-life conditions. In contexts where
institutions and systems are well-established or in purely theoretical settings, social
scientists can be infinitely critical. In scaling up social development initiatives in
developing countries where institutions and systems are in varying forms of maturity,
the main goal, however, is to solve a problem. In many cases, solving a problem
requires an implicit real-life experiment, a space, which enables these initiatives to
integrate the knowledge produced during its implementation, and consequently
results in solutions that closely respond to the needs of various groups. In such a
context, social scientists working with social development practitioners are called to
balance being critical with being pragmatic. They need to have the ability to handle
surprise, or the unexpected; and mastery over hybrid culture during the
implementation of a development project. An understanding of hybrid culture, or the
presence of different logics -- of the traditional and the modern, and of varying
epistemic traditions -- is useful in apprehending the potentials and limits of a problem-
solving mode. This means eschewing standard end-of-project evaluations in favor of
process-oriented assessments. This also means finding valid approaches to
interdisciplinarity with each social scientist, from the vantage point of his or her
discipline, exploring research questions that would not otherwise arise within the
boundaries of this discipline, by borrowing not only from other disciplines but from
other communities of practice. This paper substantiates the abovementioned points by
analyzing a particular set of social development initiatives in the Philippines.
Research on Research in Brazil: Interdisciplinary And Intercultural Inputs
for Meta-Reflection on Inter- And Intra-national Research Group
Manuela Guilherme, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra
This paper addresses interdisciplinarity from two perspectives, both on theoretical and
empirical grounds. Theoretically speaking, interdisciplinarity is drawn from the
approach taken to plurilingualism, intercultural communication/interaction and
intercultural epistemological translation within the philosophical, political and
sociological scopes about globalization/localization and internationalization of higher
education and research. As far as the empirical data collection, the interdisciplinary
composition of the research sample, namely Social Sciences and Humanities research
groups, on the one hand, and Life Sciences research groups, on the other hand, has
enriched this study and illuminated the complexity of working in between languages,
cultures and epistemologies. This study may be considered as an attempt to open up
the social sciences in that it advocates and promotes meta-reflection carried out by the
research groups themselves on their own plurilingual, intercultural and epistemological
experiences but also because it attempts to provide them with additional views from
another field of interdisciplinary research, that of plurilingual and intercultural
epistemological communication and interaction in globalized micro-contexts, that may
support them in their research tasks. This paper gives account of the Principal
Investigator’s final reflections upon the data collected through an empirical study
carried out with five research groups in three public universities in Brazil, Universidade
de São Paulo (host university), Universidade Federal da Bahia and Universidade do Sul
da Bahia. This project was developed throughout a span of 2 years (2014-2016), under
the auspices of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Outgoing Fellowship that also encompasses
a one-year analysis and production period back in Europe (CES, Coimbra, Portugal),
currently ongoing. The focus of this study with research groups, was upon language
management, independent from language proficiency, on intercultural
communication/interaction among research group members, as far as research tasks
only were concerned, and on intercultural epistemological translation, mainly with
regard to concepts and conceptual frameworks. This study and research experience
abroad also provided the Principal Investigator with data and theoretical resources to
develop theorisation of the concepts she has introduced in this research field,
Intercultural Communication and Education. They are namely ‘GLOCADEMICS’, the
project title, which is meant to focus on particular aspects of current notions such as
‘Internationalization of Higher Education’ and ‘Science Diplomacy’, in addition to
‘Glocal Languages’, which intends to counter and provide an alternative to the term
‘Lingua Franca’, and that of ‘Intercultural Responsibility’, which attempts to expand and
complement the idea of skills aimed at promoting ‘Intercultural Competence’.
Nonetheless, this interdisciplinary research on research also accounts for the
strangeness of interdisciplinary cooperation among researchers, not only between the
natural and the social sciences but also on what entails language use, intercultural
collaboration and epistemological diversity.
Session 3
The Dynamics of Transversal Research Fields: Applying STS to STS
Martina Merz, WIHO, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt Wien Graz & University of
Helsinki (TINT)
Sabine Maasen, TUM School of Education & Munich Center for Technology in Society
(MCTS), TU Munich
One important manifestation of interdisciplinarity and openness in the social sciences
and humanities are transversal research fields, which have become increasingly
prominent over the last decades. As regards their intellectual outlook, they present
themselves as post-disciplinary; as regards their institutional set-up, they are mostly
organized as ‘programs’ or ‘matrix-structures’. In stark contrast to science political
demands for interdisciplinarity and societal relevance, the university structures and
funding systems continuously enforce their re-orientation into a disciplinary format,
albeit to varying degree in different higher education systems. The proposed talk will
consider Science and Technology Studies (STS) as an exemplar for transversal research
fields on the presupposition that STS has important insights to offer into these fields
and their dynamics. It will draw on STS concepts in its analysis and, in this sense,
constitute an application of STS to STS.
As a transversal research field, STS is characterized by, at least, three major tensions:
First, by a tension between the search for an overarching intellectual identity and highly
differentiated research fields due to the transversality of its object. Second, by a
tension that underlies its search for broader institutionalization in the higher education
system in contrast to the stark diversity of its institutional forms due to local
specificities. Third, by a tension between becoming an academic practice complying
with the acknowledged standards of the ‘home disciplines’ (notably sociology, history,
philosophy) and being of significance outside academia due to its intermediate position
between ‘science’ & ‘society’.
A central objective of this talk is to understand how these tensions become
accommodated and which effects they engender for a variety of situations. The talk
will focus more specifically on the second tension (above), i.e. the one between the
process of institutionalization at an international level and that of local contexts and
take the two other tensions to be closely associated. For this purpose, we will present
an exploratory empirical investigation. It involves qualitative case studies about a small
number of STS units at selected European universities in terms of their local
configuration with a focus on how chairs, departments, and study programs have
Drawing on the above considerations, we propose the thesis that transversal research
fields are at the same time fragile (as concerns their local institutionalization) and
robust (viewed globally) if they succeed to keep their heterogeneity alive. For example,
STS thrives on the diversities of science and technology -- be they epistemic,
methodical, organizational or historical -- and, thus, by implication, maintains (and
needs to maintain) its flexibility. The talk will conclude with a contextualization of its
observations. In particular, it will ask how transversal research fields, taking STS as an
example, relate to more ‘traditional’ disciplines from which they recruit its members
and with which they continue to entertain durable relations. What, then, are the
lessons learnt from this specific instantiation of changing cognitive structures,
institutional contexts, and interdisciplinary interconnections?
Convergence of the History and Sociology of Technology from the Mid-
Chris Bissell, Open University
In the Conclusion to the Gulbenkian Foundation Report we read: “What needs to be
called for is less an attempt to transform organizational frontiers than to amplify the
organization of intellectual activity without attention to current disciplinary
boundaries. […] To be sociological is not the exclusive purview of personas called
sociologists. […] Nor is it absolutely sure that professional historians necessarily know
more about historical explanations, sociologists more about social issues, economists
more about economic fluctuations than other working social scientists”.
At the time of the Gulbenkian Report, there had already been significant convergence
of the history and sociology of technology. The Society for the History of Technology
(SHOT) had been formed in 1958 to encourage the study of the development of
technology and its relations with society and culture. SHOT describes itself thus: “An
interdisciplinary organization, SHOT is concerned not only with the history of
technological devices and processes but also with technology in historythat is, the
relationship of technology to politics, economics, science, the arts, and the
organization of production, and with the role it plays in the differentiation of individuals
in society”.
Although this interdisciplinary nature was evident from the early days of SHOT, the mid
1980s saw a rather more radical shift. The first editor of the Society’s journal,
Technology & Culture, was Melvin Kranzberg, who wrote a paper in 1986 introducing
his ‘six laws’, which became seminal for much later work. His ‘laws’ are as follows (an
elucidation will be given in the presentation):
1 Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.
2 Invention is the mother of necessity.
3 Technology comes in packages, big and small.
4 Although technology might be a prime element in many public issues, nontechnical
factors take precedence in technology-policy decisions.
5 All history is relevant, but the history of technology is the most relevant.
6 Technology is a very human activity-and so is the history of technology.
Around the same time an extremely influential conference was held in 1984 at Twente
University, The Netherlands, on the Social Construction of Technological Systems. The
extensive papers appeared in 1987, and demonstrated an enormous range of
scholarship. In addition to methodological chapters, a set of case studies included:
Portuguese expansion in the late 15th century; the development of synthetic dyes and
Bakelite in the 19th and 20th centuries; the social construction of missile accuracy;
medical imaging; sociology and cognitivism; and expert systems.
The current range of interest can be seen from recent papers in Technology & Culture.
In addition to more traditional articles have covered: the pianist Glenn Gould and music
technology; the ‘electronic church’ of Oral Roberts; questions of technology in Hayao
Miyazaki’s 2013 film The Wind Rises; masculinity in the technology of printing 1960s –
1980s; how to glean culture from an evolving Internet; and pro-nuclear
environmentalism. In addition there were reviews of books on: how engineers think;
cultural histories of sociabilities, space and mobilities; and British art in the nuclear age.
The cross- and interdisciplinary nature of the work of many contemporary historians of
technology could hardly be clearer.
The Gulbenkian report has nothing to say about technology per se. There is a section
on the ‘two cultures’, but it concentrates on topics such as non-linearity and
complexity, irreversibility and the arrow of time’; nothing is said about the old
‘internalist / externalist’ debate, let alone the new convergence of science and
technology studies with a whole range of social studies. This paper will attempt to
redress the balance in the context of the twenty years since the publication of Open
the Social Sciences.
Mapping Legal Research: An Example of a Discipline between Social
Sciences, Humanities and Practice
Mathias Siems, Durham University
Daithi Mac Sithig, Newcastle University
The 'location' of academic disciplines is sometimes contentious: for example, in the
United Kingdom, researchers in linguistics and media studies may either apply for
funding to the research council for arts and humanities or the one for social sciences,
depending on the specifics of their project. We suggest that legal scholarship is a field
that is also torn between different dimensions. This proposal combines two papers on
'mapping legal research', a more conceptual and a more empirical one; of course, we
will also reflect on the implications of our findings for the social sciences more
The first paper aims to map the position of academic legal research, using a distinction
between 'law as a practical discipline', 'law as humanities' and 'law as social sciences'
as a conceptual framework. Having explained this framework, we address both the
'macro' and 'micro' level of legal research in the UK. For this purpose, we have collected
information on the position of all law schools within the structure of their respective
universities. We also introduce ternary plots as a new way of explaining individual
research preferences. Our general result is that all three categories play a role within
the context of UK legal academia, though the relationship between the macro and the
micro level is not always straight-forward. We also provide comparisons with the US
and Germany and show that in all three countries law as an academic tradition has
been constantly evolving, raising questions such as whether the UK could or should
move further to a social science model already dominant in the US.
For the purpose of the second paper we conducted an empirical survey of academic
staff at two German law schools (Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf; Bucerius Law
School), two UK ones (University of East Anglia; University of Edinburgh) and one Irish
one (Trinity College, Dublin). We asked the legal scholars to indicate to what extent
they identify with legal research as part of humanities, as part of social sciences, and
as akin to the analysis of law in legal practice. In this paper we present and discuss our
results, using tools of both classical and compositional statistics. We also relate our
data to contextual information about these legal scholars (e.g., training, career stage)
as well as institutional and country differences. Some of our findings are that
international legal scholars tend to be closer to the social sciences and that younger
scholars and private lawyers tend to be closer to practical legal research. We also
observe some signs of convergence since, across the five law schools, scholars told us
that they tend to use practical legal research methods less often, and social sciences
methods more often, than ten years ago.
Session 4
Social Sciences and their Epistemological and Ontological Shifts
This symposium discusses shifts in ID research within the Social Sciences and their
overall implications. It will address ideas about ID in the Social Sciences as a whole,
special research areas in particular and ID as a phenomenon. In this context, four
papers will be dedicated to evaluate ID research and disciplinary relation changes
within the Social Sciences and their relation to the Natural Sciences, particular cases
such as changes in ID within Communication Studies and Cognitive Science, and general
developments in past, present and future ID research.
In the first paper, the author will consider the Social Sciences in general. The
investigation will assess the general role and implications of ID for the triangle of the
Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Philosophy. The focus will lie on the internal
structure of the Social Sciences and how they epistemologically relate to the Natural
After this general presentation, two specific research cases will be considered, namely
Cognitive Science and Communication Studies. In the former case, the author will
investigate a possible fading of ID in the particular area of interest and partially link this
occurrence to the underlying framework of cognitive sciences. This is followed by an
assessment of an alternative framework and its implications for ID. In the latter case,
the author will examine paradigms and disciplinary components of the respective field.
The focus will lie on the analysis of the difference between “models” and “paradigms”
of communication and how confusion in this context may lead to indiscipline within ID
Finally, the last section of the symposium is dedicated to the essentials of ID, namely
ID as a cognitive phenomenon, ID as a new disciplinary structure and ID as a cultural
and civilizational trend. The author will provide an overview of the past, stress current
concerns and point out future challenges for each case.
Jorge Correia Jesuino, Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa,
University Institute of Lisbon
When considering personalities within science we often think of Galileo, Copernicus,
Einstein and sometimes Lavoisier or Darwin. It is however doubtful that academics like
Weber, Durkheim, Freud or even Lvi-Strauss enter our perception of this pantheon of
science. This may be the case because natural science -- although we sometimes think
of Kant and some of his predecessors -- was of no concern for philosophers before the
problem of demarcation thematized by the Vienna Circle. Around the same time, social
scientists also started to get interested in how science works. The first to deal with this
matter was Merton and soon after him the so called “new sociology of science” was
born. In this context, it su ces to recall Bloor’s symmetry principle or the problematic
laboratory studies conducted by Woolgar and Latour. Both, the philosophical and
sociological, approach paved the way to a more complex pattern of a reflexive, as well
as interdisciplinary, science of science.
In this paper, I will argue that the underlying agenda of this triangular dialectic between
natural sciences, social sciences and philosophy has now become a vibrant, as well as
controversial, field where inter-disciplinarity in the broad sense plays a central role.
My presentation will focus on the specific case of social sciences and their internal
disciplinary relations, as well as their epistemological links with the natural sciences.
The so called “pecking-order” that demotes social sciences to the periphery does not
seem to correspond to the present framework in which life sciences tend to replace
physics as the benchmark of scientific excellence. New modes of knowledge production
also led to a widening of the traditional interplay between academic disciplines, thus
giving place to other triangles such as the thematic triangle of Science-Nature-Society
or the institutional triangle of Science-Industry-Government. I will argue that, in this
new context, Social Sciences play a more active and visible part without however
introducing significant changes in the overall structure of science.
Cognitive Science and Its Changes in ID
Klaus Grtner, Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
It is often held that one of the best examples of ID, involving the Social Sciences, is
Cognitive Science. Since its modern foundations all the way back to the 1940s and over
its definite implementations in the 1970s, research mainly involves the following
disciplines: Philosophy, Psychology, AI, Neuroscience, Anthropology and Linguistics.
The main research framework of Cognitive Science is to argue that cognition is
essentially computation. This means that the mind can be described as an information
processing system involving mental representations. These representations are
analogous to algorithms in a computer. Basically Cognitive Science holds that the mind
manipulates information provided by its surroundings. This framework spawned
important and vast ID research in the last decades.
Recently, however, it has been claimed that the ID character that de nes Cognitive
Science might be fading. In a recent article, Leydesdorf
and Goldstone - in an analysis
of the journal Cognitive Science -- argue that despite the success of this ID area and the
ID claim of the researchers involved, research is increasingly integrated into Cognitive
Psychology. As a consequence, one may ask the question whether or not Cognitive
Science as whole will lose its ID character in the long run.
In this paper, I will argue that this does not have to be the case. To do so, I will have
look at a new and growing research framework within Cognitive Science, namely
Embodied Situated Cognition. This framework explicitly challenges the traditional idea
that cognition simply means processing/manipulating provided information and claims
that it should rather be understood as an organism's interaction with its environment.
This action based program fundamentally claims that a) cognition is not something that
happens only in the head and b) complex cognitive processes arise from the interaction
of simpler sub-systems. It also means that representations are not essential to
cognition anymore. I will argue here that this new framework also affects Cognitive
Science's ID character not only by introducing new ways of linking the traditional
research areas involved, but expanding to new ones.
1 Leydesdor , L., & Goldstone, R. L. (2013): 'Interdisciplinarity at the Journal and Specialty
Level: The changing knowledge bases of the journal Cognitive Science' (in Journal of the
American Society for Information Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1002/asi.22953)
Communication Models, Communication Paradigms and Disciplinary
Diogo Silva da Cunha, Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
In this paper, I will address the difference between communication paradigms and
disciplinary components/expressions. The research area known today as
‘Communication Studies’ stems from a profusion of a wide range of different
disciplines, disciplinary orientations and traditions. Its conceptual development as a
discursive field owes a lot to the reorganization of very different -- sometimes even
antagonistic -- backgrounds. I will start by laying out the difference between 'models'
and 'paradigms' of communication. This means, I will consider some ideas about the
process of communication and general frameworks of interpretation of that process.
Then, I will show that there are two general models of communication -- even if we
consider a wide range of possible changes in details -- and three paradigms.
In this context, I will show that the first two models and paradigms are overlapping.
The first model is the so called 'information exchange model', and the first paradigm is
the 'information paradigm'. For them 'communication' is interpreted in a mechanical
and behavioristic way. Its primary criterion is the efficacy of intentions of a source of
information. This model and the corresponding paradigm are closely connected to the
relation between Engineering and Positivistic Sociology.
The second model is the so called 'interaction model', and the second paradigm may
be described as 'culture, interaction and ritual paradigm'. Here 'communication' is
understood in a more subjective and intersubjective sense. It is not a message, but a
relation between beings socially and symbolically related. This paradigm originates
from developments in Philosophy, Sociology of Knowledge and Communication.
Finally, the last paradigm is based on complex considerations. In a sense, it is a spinoff
of the second paradigm, while at the same time, heading towards the first. This
paradigm may be called “techno-culture and networks paradigm”. Disciplinarily
speaking, it results from the association of Philosophy and Sociology with political
movements that mainly consider a widespread tide of Relativism of various kinds. At a
great extent, this paradigm is itself part of an ideal liberation of a certain Victorian
sense of “discipline”. My paper ends with a critical reflection on how to treat ID in the
light of the risks of indiscipline.
Observations on Past, Present and Future Main Determinations of ID
Olga Pombo, Centro de Filosofia das Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
I will begin by underlining three main determinations of ID as an essentially cognitive
phenomenon, as a new disciplinary structure and as a much large cultural and
civilizational trend. In each case, I will try to make a much quick overview of its past
roots, to stress some present concerns and to point to some future challenges. Even if
up till now the word ID has not stabilized its meaning, even if ID is a universal password
belonging to the vocabulary of scienti c research as well as of teaching, mass media and
entrepreneurship, context, yet the word resist, stands firm and fights for its
fundamental cognitive destiny. In fact, ID is above all an answer to the extreme
specialization of scientific knowledge and a new model of pears communication, a
crucial heuristic strategy and a response to the complexity level which science is today
dealing with, a way of facing a new kind of urgent, global problems and a
methodological procedure required for problem solving.
However, even if ID is occurs in huge quantity of new practices the fact is that it gives
rise to few and fragile e orts of theorization. Why do disciplines accept to cross their
concepts, their methodologies and their models but do not question the groundings of
such ID crossings?
I believe that some critical issues concerning ID need be thought out. In this direction,
special attention will be given to the following questions:
Why is ID such a fundamental determination of actual scientific endeavor and yet is so
di cult to achieve? How to understand the main diffculties put forward to the practice
of ID? We know that the classical rupture between natural explicative sciences and
social comprehensive disciplines is being bridged. Is it possible that one of the reasons
for that coming near is the interdisciplinary nature of social and human sciences? But,
why is ID more close to social sciences and humanities than to natural sciences? Which
features of social sciences and humanities are more akin to ID than those of natural
sciences? Maybe the understanding of those reasons will help to fortify the practice of
Session 5
The Distinction Between Epistemic and Institutional Notions of Discipline
and Why It Matters for Thinking About Interdisciplinarity in the Social
Tomi Kokkonen, University of Helsinki (TINT)
Magdalena Małecka, University of Helsinki (TINT)
This paper analyses three cases of interdisciplinary interactions and exchanges -- in
biological sciences, in humanities and in the behavioural sciences and discusses the
philosophical challenges that these cases pose for the philosophy of interdisciplinarity.
We show the conceptual difficulties that the concept of a discipline causes for the
analysis of theoretical exchanges and transfers that take place in biology, humanities
and the behavioural sciences. Then we suggest what lesson can be learnt from our
analysis of these cases for theorizing interdisciplinarity in the social sciences.
Disciplines can be understood either as 1) a social phenomenon of institutionally
structured division of labor (an institutional discipline), or as 2) a cluster of theories and
research practices shared by epistemic communities (an epistemic discipline). The first
understanding gives us (institutional) criteria for what disciplines are, whereas the
second one presumes that researchers within a discipline share a high degree of
general theoretical knowledge, practices of evaluation, shared research objects, and
epistemic interests, to enable enough communication, internal critique, and spread of
results. Given the presumed epistemic unity, epistemic discipline can be treated as the
subject of knowledge production, as something that can have a unified image of a
phenomenon (e.g. the economic view of markets, or the sociological view of markets)
and that can change that image (e.g. Kuhn’s and Lakatos’ analyses). This would seem
to give disciplines an additional epistemic role to those of smaller units of analysis
(theory, model etc.) -- they would be epistemic superstructures. Interdisciplinary
interaction of epistemic disciplines, as philosophers are used to think of them, could
affect the very conditions of knowledge production and the way scientific image of
phenomena undergo a qualitative change (e.g. the interdisciplinary view of the markets
would not only combine economic and sociological facts, but have a synthetic new
image of markets).
We will argue, however, that such a notion of discipline is largely a fiction: the epistemic
unity is weaker and the smaller units are more adequate for philosophical analysis. The
institutional disciplines are typically not coherent in the epistemic dimension, but
consist of research programs that may be competing or complementary, sometimes
constituting a sub-disciplinary structure. The philosophical issues relating to
triangulation of phenomena through different theories and sets of evidence have to do
with the nature of theories, models, evidence, and explanation, which all emerge both
within and between institutional disciplines. At the same time, institutionally
interdisciplinary interaction would require precisely the kind of integration epistemic
disciplines are supposed to do. We show this by considering three very different cases
of institutional interdisciplinarity where the notion of epistemic discipline is
problematic, and we suggest a fourth alternative as a model for interdisciplinarity in
social sciences, for epistemic grounds.
The first case is the biological sciences. “Biology” is not a single discipline, but a highly
organized cluster of disciplines that form a unified field. The second case is the
humanities, in which conceptual frameworks, methods, and theoretical trends travel
freely between autonomous institutional disciplines. The third case is the behavioral
sciences, which seem to form a field of empirical studies done within several
institutional subdisciplines that do not build one identifiable discipline (neither in
institutional, nor in epistemic sense). All three examples fail, in one way or another, to
be an exemplar interdisciplinarity for social sciences, but in ways that can be learned
from. Our suggestion is an instrumentally pluralistic attitude to sub-disciplinary
research programs and a proposal of conceiving interdisciplinary projects as new
research programs, that should be combined with an active integrative work in the
form of social theory and philosophy for a unified image.
Opening Outwards: Interdisciplinarity as Intellectual Imperialism
Uskali Mäki, University of Helsinki (TINT)
‘Imperialism’ is a metaphor occasionally used for certain kinds or instances of
interdisciplinary relationship. Among the intuitions this is supposed to express are
those related to expansion, intrusion, conquest, dominance, hegemony, and so on.
Such relationship can prevail between two or more particular disciplines (such as
economics and political science) or between groups of disciplines (such as between
physical sciences and the human sciences). Imperialistic interdisciplinarity can be
identi Open the Social Sciences (1996) devotes just one passing sentence to this
phenomenon. It appears there is a gap to be filled in here. Very recently, scientific
imperialism has been put on the agenda of philosophy of science, so it is inviting to
draw on and expand on this literature (see Mäki 2002, 2009, 2013; Clarke and Walsh
2009, 2013; Mäki, Pinto, Walsh forthcoming 2016).
The paper first looks at the concept of scientific imperialism by reflecting on its two
components, ‘scientific’ and ‘imperialism’; puts the interdisciplinary version of
scientific imperialism on a larger map of versions; proposes identifying imperialistic
interdisciplinarity as a characteristic of what I call outward-open (in contrast to
inward-open) disciplines (Mäki 2016); and outlines a framework for identifying its
various aspects. It then proceeds through two sets of questions. First, considering
that interdisciplinary transfer / travel / trespassing happens all the time throughout
science, what distinguishes imperialistic from non-imperialistic trespassing? My
preference is to draw a vague line that is normatively neutral. Second, do normative
standards of epistemic performance depend on whether trespassing occurs or not;
and whether it is imperialistic trespassing or not? This divides into two further issues:
a. The epistemic pursuits and alleged epistemic achievements of imperialistic science
often look similar to those of non-imperialistic science (eg expansion, unification,
novelty); should they be assessed differently, even in terms of different standards? b.
The alleged failures in the epistemic (and perhaps other) pursuits of imperialistic
science often look similar to those of non-imperialistic science (eg explanatory failure,
crowding out of other lines of research); should they be assessed differently, even in
terms of different standards? In answering such questions, I am generally attracted by
the idea that imperialist science is to be judged by the same standards that we apply
to all science, together with the generally advisable proviso that the standards and
their application are often to be adjusted so as to be responsive to the peculiar
characteristics of each specific type of case.
Clarke, Steven, and Adrian Walsh. 2009. Scientific imperialism and the proper
relations between the sciences. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23:
Clarke, S. and Walsh, A. 2013. Imperialism, progress, developmental teleology, and
interdisciplinary unification. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 27,
Mki, Uskali (2002a) “Explanatory ecumenism and economics imperialism”,
Economics and Philosophy, 18, 2002, 237-259.
Mäki, Uskali (2009) “Economics imperialism: Concept and constraints” Philosophy of
the Social Sciences, 39, 351-380.
Mäki, Uskali (2013) “Scientific Imperialism: Difficulties in Definition, Identification,
and Assessment” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27, 325-339.
Mki, Uskali (2016) “Philosophy of interdisciplinarity: What? Why? How?” European
Journal for Philosophy of Science 6, 327-342.
Mki, Uskali and Caterina Marchionni (2011) “Is geographical economics imperializing
economic geography?” Journal of Economic Geography, 11, 645665.
Mäki, Uskali and Manuela Fernandez Pinto and Adrian Walsh, eds (2016 forthcoming)
Scientific Imperialism. Exploring the Boundaries of Interdisciplinarity. Routledge.
Emotional Tensions in Interdisciplinary Interaction
Mikko Salmela, University of Helsinki (TINT)
Uskali Mäki, University of Helsinki (TINT)
Emotions are an important yet often neglected aspect of interdisciplinary interaction,
in both positive and negative sense. Thus, Boix Mansilla et al. (2015) have shown that
cognitive, emotional, and interactional dimensions are intertwined and mutually
constitutive in both successful and failed interdisciplinary interaction. In this
presentation, we focus on the emotional dimension of interdisciplinary interaction,
seeking to provide an empirically informed philosophical account of different kinds of
emotional tensions in interdisciplinary research interaction, and the sources of those
We identify three sources of emotional tensions in interdisciplinary interaction. The
first relates to disciplinary identities and cultures. The constitutive epistemic and
organizational aspects of disciplines come together in disciplinary identities and
cultures that are learned in interaction with senior colleagues and peers during
academic socialization and reinforced at later stages of academic career (e.g. Perry
2007; Becher & Trowler 2001; Collins 1998). Accordingly, disciplinarily oriented
researchers may have problems with interdisciplinary research that involves processing
of complex or conflicting information, handling differing epistemic expectations,
engaging in dialogue with intellectual adversaries, and negotiating goals, concepts,
models, theories, and methods. While the sources of these problems lie in the cognitive
domain of interdisciplinary interaction, the problems manifest as interpersonal
tensions and feelings of being disrespected and mistrusted by others as well (Boix
Mansilla et al. 2015).
The second source of emotional tensions is scientific imperialism. It promotes a
competitive framing of interdisciplinary interactions instead of a cooperative one,
leading scholars to discard or downplay other disciplinary perspectives in
interdisciplinary research projects. Researchers in imperialistic disciplines perceive
their discipline as epistemically and/or methodologically superior to imperialized
disciplines that are perceived to be in need of enlightenment (Mäki, 2013). The
emotions of imperialists are positive; confidence, pride, and feelings of superiority. In
contrast, researchers in imperialized disciplines perceive themselves as victims of
epistemic injustice (Fricker 2007; Rolin 2014), experiencing feelings of jealousy, fear,
envy, anger, humiliation, and inferiority. Imperialist disciplinarity prevents
interdisciplinary groups from reaching a common cognitive ground and a sense of
collective mission that underlie the emergence of a group identity, mutual collegial
recognition, and trust along with emotions of collective excitement and joy of discovery
(Boix Mansilla et. al 2015).
The third source of emotional tensions is top-down management. There is some
evidence that successful interdisciplinary research projects have been self-selected
research groups operating in conditions of minimal bureaucratic concern (Boix Mansilla
et al., 2015; Hollingsworth & Hollingsworth 2000) However, organizations may try to
facilitate and incentivize interdisciplinary collaboration by top-down measures as well.
Our empirical data from a small Finnish university suggests that the top-down strategy
may create some emotional tensions that are not involved in bottom-up cases of
interdisciplinary collaboration. Here, organizational constraints on the choice of
collaboration partners within the university, competitive application and evaluation
process of research proposals, insufficient resourcing of the selected research teams,
and insufficient instructions from the administration about the structure of feasible
research units have been named by researchers as sources of emotional discontent
during the process of introducing interdisciplinary research units into the university.
Finally, we suggest that emotional tensions in interdisciplinary interaction should be
seen as adaptive 'fire alarms' of underlying cognitive and/or interactional problems in
such interaction. Therefore, even if emotional tensions are negative as such, they can
help the collaborators to address the underlying problems in time before they
jeopardize the success of the project.
Session 6
Panta Rhei The Procedural Demand for an Iterative Design of Multi-Actor
Engagement Processes
Ursula Caser, TUM/MCTS - Technische Universität München/Munich Center for
Technology in Society & MARE - Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente
Lia Vasconcelos, MARE - Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente
Filipa Ferro Mediatedomain & MARE - Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente
The growing role played by active participation in public policy, reinforced by the
adoption of the Convention of Aarhus in 1998 became more and more integrated in
societal relevant projects and environmental planning processes. Unluckily an
unfortunate combination of methodical uncertainty, time constraints and
preconceived political intentions resulted in a lack of confidence and mistrust of these
processes on the citizens´ and stakeholders´ side. Simultaneously experts and
researchers developed severe doubts as to the relevance of the civil societies input and
sometimes even open hostility towards any process of engagement. The attempt to
introduce methodical strictness and standardised formats (like focus groups, scenario
workshops, open space, fish-bowls, etc.) was a consequence in order to try and re-
establish enthusiasm and trust on all sides. This strategy has failed. However, multi-
actor and public engagement is today a cross-cutting demand in any science,
technology or planning project. More and above all it is important to understand better
the role of these processes in shaping a more inclusive, responsible and sustainable
world and how they will affect established social relationships.
Also, the need to change behaviours and attitudes is currently pointed out as one of
the cornerstones to produce real long-term positive impacts on major global issues that
affect contemporary societies. In this sense we need trustworthy and effective
processes to address complex problems that are able to sustain better policy decisions
and at the same time to foster collective learning among all actors. Our action - focused
on the engagement of multiple actors in the co-creation of sustainable solutions - has
shown that the integration of different “knowledges' is not only an area for further
advancement in science with real benefits for all involved parties, but in itself an
expertise area (based on fundamental principles) that should be given more attention
in order to ensure the quality of results on the one hand and the responsible and
ethically correct intervention of these processes on the other.
Nearly 20 years of practical experience “in the field” confirmed that participatory
processes have to be well planned from the beginning and must consider a number of
influential aspects in all phases. However, they have to remain flexible at any moment.
The choice of methodology, format, venue and logistics as well as recruitment and
feedback strategies requires a constant adaptation to the ever-changing contexts of
real-life along the projects´ lifetime.
“Panta Rhei - Everything changes and nothing remains still” is therefore the basic
paradigm for the design of any successful multi-actor engagement process, that
genuinely targets the creation of knowledge alliances between experts, stakeholders
and civil society in order to support consensus oriented conflict management and
collaborative decision making.
Insight in case studies (Cova da Moura -- Socio-territorial Intervention in Critical
Neighbourhoods; MARGov -- Collaborative Governance for Marine Protected Areas;
CIMULACT -- Citizen and Multi-Actor Consultation on Horizon 2020) will be presented
and the authors will show how the consecutive lessons learnt led to a grounded
sureness that the existing challenge of institutionalising and systematising the practice
of engagement must not target to convince reluctant institutions to trial engagement
but aim at the development of a collaborative community of practice.
Theoretical Imagination and Social Protestor How to Make Social Theory
Out of a Collective Action Framework: A View From Latin America
Ana M. Vara, National University of San Martin
Where does social theory come from? What is the source of theoretical imagination in
the social sciences? In order to address this issue, most approaches have focused on
previous authors or schools of thoughtthat is, on some kind of theoretical ancestor.
Ancient thinkers influence modern thinkers, intellectuals influence experts, and so on.
There are also some approaches that pay attention to the empirical matter analyzed as
somehow having an impact on the theoretical framework developed in order to
describe it.
In this presentation we intend to focus on a case of a theoretical framework developed
by Latin American sociologists, which we think was inspired on a collective action
We have described a collective action framework created in the early XXth century by
Latin American intellectuals and writers with the purpose of making imperialism visible.
This framework re-emerged in subsequent cycles of protest in the region, and became
a master frame which we have named 'neocolonial counter-discourse on natural
resources', since it evokes colonial times in order to denounce a neocolonial situation.
It has a narrative matrix of four elements: a natural resource of great value; a local
social group somehow related to it; a greedy, abusive foreigner; and a local accomplice
(usually, local authorities).The story suggested by this framing is one of extreme
exploitation: key words recurrently used are 'sacking' (in Spanish: saqueo), 'pillage'
(pillaje), 'depredation' or 'plundering' (depredación). It is an injustice framing that talks
about environmental inequality, and may be considered proto-environmentalist. It is
also Latin Americanist and anti-imperialist. We have previously analyzed its presence
in processes of frame alignment between social movements in episodes of social
protest (Vara, 2013a and b) during the current cycle of environmental protest in the
region (Vara 2012). We have also explored its dialogue with theoretical frameworks in
the social sciences, such as 'the curse of natural resources', or Ulrich Beck’s notion of
'global risk society' (Vara, 2016).
In this presentation, we intend to show how recent theorizations by Latin American
sociologists, developed to describe and analyze processes that involve the exploitation
of natural resources in the region, seem to be inspired by this master frame. Most
notably, the theorizations around 'extractivism' and 'neo-extractivism', as well as the
so called 'commodities consensus' (Svampa, 2013 and 2016). Notably, these
theorizations have transcended the region, and are increasingly being quoted or
evoked by North American and European social scientists who conduct research on
Latin America.
The Social Consequences of Explaining Human Behaviour: Strains Between
the Institutions of Causal Connection and Responsible Action
Federico Brandmayr, Université Paris-Sorbonne
After the November 2015 Paris attacks, various political actors pointed to the social
issues that fostered radicalization, urging the government to improve the economic
and social conditions of the underprivileged. Manuel Valls, the prime minister,
responded to these claims by declaring that 'we should not look for excuses. We should
not look for any social, sociological or cultural excuse because in our country nothing
justifies [those acts]''. He also stated: 'I have had enough of those constantly looking
for excuses and cultural or sociological explanations of what happened'. Moreover,
several journalists and intellectuals intervened in the public sphere asserting the
ideology of 'sociologism', justifying and legitimizing crime, school dropout, and
joblessness, was spreading in France. These claims irritated many sociologists and
social scientists, who felt their professional activities were being undermined and even
threatened. They reacted, single-handedly or through the spokespeople of their
scholarly associations, by defending the scope and value of their approach. In these
instances of public defence of science, they faced a dilemma: either maintaining that
to explain human behaviour does not imply any normative evaluation of the latter,
risking in such manner to raise doubts on the usefulness of social sciences, or
maintaining that the approach of social sciences teaches us to be less repressive with
deviant behaviour, risking in this way to alienate sections of the general public that
would not share this political recommendation. Accordingly, in various social settings,
and through different methods and tools, social scientists drew and moved boundaries
between categories such as theory and practice, science and politics, explanation and
justification. The paper reconstructs these attempts and positionings, taking inspiration
from studies on the ambivalence of scientists (Merton 1976), on boundary-work and
professional ideologies (Gieryn 1983; Gieryn et al. 1985; Gieryn 1999) and on structural
theories of intellectual fields (Bourdieu 1988; 1996). It draws on a variety of sources,
including interviews with social scientists; a wide array of written and oral material;
and the results of a survey of French sociologists. The explanatory aim of the paper is
twofold: shedding light on the ambivalence one can find in the definitions of sociology
and social sciences given by various scholars (for example, the fact that they are
considered alternatively as a neutral and normative enterprise), and accounting for the
positioning of different segments of the French social scientific community along the
axis of neutrality and advocacy. Finally, the paper assesses the view according to which
in Western liberal societies the 'institution of causal connection' (Barnes 2000) is
materialized by (social) scientists and academic institutions, whereas the 'institution of
responsible action' is materialized by government executives, law courts and prisons.
The paper argues that large sections of the social scientific community actually deploy
accounts that are partly voluntaristic but attribute responsibility to different actors or
entities than individuals occupying judicial and executive roles (for example, blaming
governments instead of wrongdoers). As a result, the French controversy about
'sociological excuses' may be more correctly depicted as the confrontation - that can
be intensified or soften by certain factors - of two competing moral perspectives.
Session 7
When Might ID Collaboration Work in the Environmental Sciences: Models
from Philosophy of Science
Michiru Nagatsu, University of Helsinki (TINT)
Miles MacLeod, University of Twente
Interdisciplinarity is a strong policy imperative in the environmental sciences with
much funding dedicated to encouraging researchers from civil engineering,
atmospheric science, ecology, agricultural science, economics, geography, sociology,
anthropology and so on to combine their expertise in order to manage pressing
environmental problems and generate sustainable resource management practices. It
is widely expected that solving many resource management problems, for instance
water management problems, will depend on collaborations that cross social, natural
and engineering science boundaries, since understanding the interactions between
human behavior and environmental dynamics is likely critical for a successful
management policy. In this paper we provide insights into the progressive
methodology of interdisciplinary environmental science, in particular of model
integration, drawing on the philosophy of science and empirical studies of scientific
We focus principally on model-building strategies. In general building models across
these disciplinary boundaries has proved difficult and prone to failure. Interdisciplinary
research must deal with multiple constraints. These constraints can be institutional
with respect to university promotional and peer-review structures; they can be
psychological, with respect to the role disciplinary identities play in research and
communication (Osbeck et al. ); they can be cognitive, with respect to the differences
over conceptual and methodological practices, and epistemic values which are not easy
to adjust to suit interdisciplinary demands (see MacLeod 2016). And while science
policy has generally focused on the institutional causes of interdisciplinary failure and
success, there is much less understanding of what methodological and epistemological
strategies contribute well when particular sets of disciplines attempt to integrate
models, as well as what kinds of methodological and epistemological differences inhibit
Lessons of successful cases need to be collated and analyzed in order to understand
not just the institutional features, communication structures, participant backgrounds
and so on which have contributed to their success, but also what conceptual and
methodological strategies researchers have used to help find ways of integrating their
background fields into productive and reliable scientific research platforms. Various
model-building strategies and options are available to researchers when approaching
an interdisciplinary problem, each have various affordances and drawbacks when it
comes to managing the various constraints on interdisciplinary collaborations in
environmental research. Our goal in this paper is to identify some of those options in
current practice and to evaluate them with respect to their ability to overcome these
constraints, and lead to viable and scientifically credible integrated problem-solving
In section 1 we explore what some of the constraints are underlying the difficulties of
ID work in the environmental sciences, particularly the cognitive ones which a
methodological strategy needs to handle in one way or another. In section 2 we look
at three typical model-integrating strategies used in the environmental sciences. The
first is a data-driven strategy whereby each group contributes to a single empirical
modeling strategy; the second is a modular-assembling strategy whereby each group
contributes its model to assemble a whole complex model; the third is a substitutive-
coupling strategy whereby each group attempts to combine basic modeling
frameworks by exchanging components for better ones built by their collaborators.
Such a framework should provide the opportunity over the long-run to put together
more complex models that address more complex problems. In section 3 we will argue
on the basis of some case studies and insights from the philosophy of science that the
later options offers a credible alternative to the large-scale approaches usually
advocated in approach to environmental problems. It offers some of the best
affordances for handling the constraints that beset interdisciplinary work, leading to
productive and scientifically rigorous integrated solutions to environmental problems.
Walking the Line: When Disciplinary Boundaries Are Good for
Alkistis Elliott-Graves, University of Helsinki (TINT)
Interdisciplinarity is an indisputably important aspect of scientific practice, which has
helped scientists overcome numerous theoretical and practical problems (Mäki,
forthcoming). Achieving a certain level of interdisciplinarity in their research is
something that natural and social scientists strive for. While this is often due to genuine
benefits gained from interdisciplinary integration, it is sometimes due to pressure from
departments, universities or external funding bodies. Indeed, the fact that concepts
such as interdisciplinarity and integration have attained the status of ‘buzzwords’ is
problematic, as the rhetoric often obscures the difficulties of achieving true
interdisciplinarity and eclipses the importance of genuinely interdisciplinary research
(O’Malley, 2013).
A good place to start, when attempting to address a phenomenon in an
interdisciplinary manner, is to identify similarities between the two disciplines. If the
two disciplines have ‘enough in common’, then there is good reason to expect the
interdisciplinary approach to be fruitful. For example, it is often stressed that ecology
and economics are naturally aligned, as they have a number of parallel concepts,
including fundamental principles (economy or scarcity), interactions (competition),
behavioural assumptions (maximizing fitness and utility) and organizing systems
(ecosystems and markets) (Polasky & Segerson, 2009). These similarities do not have
to be structural. Interdisciplinary research within the social sciences is based on the
study of a common event or phenomenon (such as the Cold War or gender equality in
the work-place) and a number of shared epistemological values (such as the
importance of social structures and their effect on individual behaviour).
I argue that while finding sufficient common ground is a necessary pre-requisite for
interdisciplinary research, overstating similarities between different disciplines can be
counterproductive. In contrast, differences between disciplines should be taken into
account in any interdisciplinary endeavour. I will focus on a negative consequence of
inflating the commonalities between fields and show that in some cases, analysing
differences between disciplines can lead to important insights that increase the overall
understanding of the phenomenon under investigation.
My main example concerns the fields of economics and ecology. An important
similarity between the two disciplines is their difficulty in making predictions that are
both precise and accurate (Kirman, 2016; Peters, 1991). It has been shown that in
ecology this is caused, to a large extent, by a type of heterogeneity (parts of the system
manifest differently as causes of a phenomenon) (Elliott-Graves, 2016). Heterogeneity
is also a feature of economic systems, hence an interdisciplinary project might do well
to apply the reasoning of the former to the latter in order to explain the difficulty of
However, there are various forms of heterogeneity, which have different effects. A
closer examination reveals that in ecological systems there is greater heterogeneity
across systems than there is in the same system across time. This explains why the
knowledge from one system does not necessarily apply to another system, though
predicting how the system will behave in the future is not as problematic. In contrast,
in economic systems it is generalizing across time that poses the greatest challenge to
generalizations and predictions. Therefore, a critical interdisciplinary project ought to
examine the type of heterogeneity in economic systems in order to determine its effect
on prediction.
Elliott-Graves (2016). The problem of prediction in invasion biology. Biology &
Philosophy, 31(3),
Kirman (2016). Complexity and Economic Policy: ... Journal of Economic Literature,
Mki 2016, “Philosophy of interdisciplinarity. What? Why? How?” European Journal
for Philosophy of Science 6, 327-342.
O’Malley (2013). When integration fails ... Studies in H. and Phil. of Biol , 44(4),
Peters (1991). A Critique for Ecology. CUP
Polasky & Segerson,(2009). Integrating Ecology and Economics ... . Ann.Rev. Resource
Economics, 1(1)
Social Sciences for Sustainability? Bridges and Boundaries
Henrik Thorén, Lund University
Johannes Persson, Lund University
In Open the Social Sciences (OSS) the authors emphasise how the rising interest in
complex phenomena in general, and of complex systems analysis in particular, have --
in the years after the Second World War -- to some extent narrowed the gap between
the natural and social sciences. They write: “The conceptual framework offered by
evolutionary complex systems as developed by the natural sciences presents to the
social sciences a coherent set of ideas that matches long-standing views in the social
sciences, particularly among those who have been resistant to the forms of nomothetic
analysis inspired by the science of linear equilibria” (OSS, 64).
On this account the new-found interest in complex systems challenged entrenched
conceptions of science itself within the natural sciences and, inadvertently, brought
them closer to the social sciences. A new epistemology was in the making, one that
catered to the interests and sensibilities of social scientists more closely. Without
doubt one of the most significant intellectual developments of the last century can be
associated with complexity and the dynamics of complex systems. As for instance
Stephen Kellert has shown these ideas have by now touched and influenced a wide
variety of fields and disciplines, in the natural and social sciences, as well as the
The mere proliferation of ideas, however, make for weak interdisciplinary connections
by themselves and thus it can be useful to investigate more concrete attempts at
establishing interdisciplinary connections between the social and natural sciences that
build on notions of complexity and complex systems.
In this paper we survey one recent such attemptthe field of sustainability science
at connecting disciplines in the natural and social science as well as the humanities and
try to evaluate the progress so far. This case is of particular relevance in this context,
not only because it is an integrative project that explicitly targets disciplines that belong
to all three “super-domains” but also as sustainability scientists have heavily relied on
deploying a range of analogies, metaphors, and theoretical and methodological
frameworks that share a systems-terminologyin particular the notion of complex
adaptive systems. We focus on in particular on two influential, but rather different,
such frameworks: integrated assessment modelling and resilience theory. Integrated
assessment modelling is an interdisciplinary activity in which climate and vegetation
models are combined with socio-economic models in order to investigate links
between development and climate change. Resilience theory is a general theoretical
framework originally developed by ecologist Crawford S. Holling that explains change
especially catastrophic changeand adaptation in complex (adaptive) systems in
In our analysis we look at both theoretical and social components of interdisciplinary
integration. That is (1) to what extent these frameworks connect to theories and
insights within relevant disciplines, and (2) to what extent members of relevant
disciplines have been engaged with them. We argue that both resilience theory and
integrated assessment modelling have considerable problems, albeit in different ways.
Session 8
Scaling Up Research Infrastructures: Bioinformatics and Social Sciences
Violeta Argudo Portal Columbia University Alumni
Research into the human diseases is now shaped by the fast-growing field of genetics,
epi-genetics, and computer science that enables handling these vast amounts of
information. Identification of rare or unknown disease patterns requires large scale
databases. Current computer science developments, and the supremacy of “Big Data,
or just digital data have originated the field of bioinformatics as a crucial field of
research for the improvement of human health. Bioinformatics innovations have had
direct implications for the functions and capabilities of research infrastructures such as
biobanks, human-based biological repositories. These bodies directly address a
combination of computer science and genetics or molecular biology more broadly.
The bioinformatics field seeks fundamental knowledge about human diseases, but also
problem-solving results. Correspondingly, biobanks also combine basic and applied
science, converging academic and industrial quests. During this talk I aim to address
the importance of looking at the implications of scaling up bioinformatics relevant
research infrastructures, in order to show the relevance of social sciences in this field;
while calling for reflection on inter/multi and trans disciplinary work. In addition to re-
thinking how useful these categories are when doing research.
Presenting two key aspects: biobank’s participants (donors) and privacy protection. To
do so, specifically, I look at the European Commission aim of setting up a European
network of public biobanks, the BBMRI-ERIC, established in 2013. Scaling up biobanks
enables an efficient infrastructure for connection and sharing of bioinformation from
different biospecimens beyond national borders, in order to map, code, and compare
these samples, functioning as data points, for a better understanding of human
diseases. These queries have reached a pointed importance as the scientific
community, and corporate enterprises demand scale up. In response, European
national biobanks aim to collect bioinformation at a larger scale. In this paper I argue
that scaling up biobanks leads to an exacerbation of already existent and unresolved
governance challenges found in national biobanks.
Significantly, the European project is analogous to two other initiatives, the US
“precision medicine” initiative launch by the National Institutes of Health in 2015, and
the foundation of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health in 2013. Precision
medicine is an emergent and controversial approach that seeks to improve disease
treatment and prevention through combining research on genetics, lifestyle, and
environmental causes. It is based on the creation of connected large-scale databases
that depend on individuals willing to share their medical records and genomic data.
The Global Alliance for Genomics and Health was launched with the aim of working
towards a common, harmonized framework for “responsible, voluntary, and secure
sharing of genomic and clinical data.” Therefore, the European network of biobanks
has been framed by a broader demand from industry no less than from academics for
large-scale databases for clinical research. This emergent demand revealed a lack of
articulation and harmonization among existing research databases of this type.
The case study presented provides an analysis of a groundbreaking and implemented
project, bringing some light to the current paucity of studies on the systematization of
research infrastructures globally. When approaching biobanks, several areas of social
and ethical complexity are at stake, corporate uses of bioinformation, medicine as a
public good, and the complexities of research infrastructure geographies, not least.
Therefore, the significance of this talk is to provide a brief analysis of the BBMRI-ERIC
case study as a way of enabling thought, and better understanding of the digital
expansion of research infrastructures; inevitably questioning how to tackle a fast-
growing social and governance challenge that cannot be understood isolated and
delimited by disciplinary categories or institutional boxes.
Fulfilling the Promise of IDR-Overcoming the Barriers
Maureen Burgess, Trinity College Dublin
Doris Alexander, Trinity College Dublin
This paper argues that the impact and value of interdisciplinary research (IDR) is
contingent on the recognition of key requirements at the macro-, meso- and micro-
levels in the Higher Education and research landscape. In particular, aspects such as
Early Stage vs. Late, gender, interdisciplinary inclusivity, and research engagement
must be supported by individual researchers, research performing institutions, and
funding agencies.
The paper will draw on conclusions from an event organised by Trinity College Dublin
and Dublin City University in early summer 2016 (See further information about this
event funded by the Irish Research Council here:
01interdisciplinarity.php) examining how IDR can enable researchers to achieve deeper
impact for their work. The event focused primarily on IDR from the standpoint of Arts
and Humanities and Social Science researchers working in an Irish HE context.
Participants came from a broad disciplinary base and the findings have relevance for
all disciplines including the Social Sciences in the context of the 20 year anniversary
since the publication of the report Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian
Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. The conclusions that will be
presented in this paper were drawn from both papers presented and peer discussions
during this event.
More than ever before, there is heightened attention on the impact that investment in
research can deliver. A great deal of expectation has been placed on the potential of
IDR to deliver greater impact then can be achieved by researchers working within
single-disciplinary configurations and consequently to effectively address the grand
challenges that global society is faced with. There is real evidence to show that IDR can
achieve greater impact. From an Irish perspective a study carried out in Trinity College
of the top Irish publications cited in the database revealed that nearly
all of them were interdisciplinary in nature. Elsewhere in the UK a study showed that
nearly two-thirds of REF impact cases drew on research from multiple disciplines.
The promise of what IDR can achieve has a number of different drivers including the
requirements of government funders for accountability around the initiatives they
fund, the move towards Open Science/Citizen science, and the growth in alternative
metric structures that track and measure the impact of research. Most recently the
Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers called on the EC and member states to put
in place mechanisms to facilitate and equally reward diverse forms of mobility including
Interdisciplinary mobility.
However care needs to be taken that the wider research community can fully partake
of the opportunities presented by engaging in IDR. It was clear from the engaging with
key actors at the Dublin event that we should not assume that the structures and
conditions that support and incentivise researchers from different disciplines to come
together to address complex problems are currently in place or indeed can be put in
place easily. This paper will highlight some of the problems as well as seek to identify a
number of ways that these conditions and structures can be better enabled.
Interdisciplinary Futures: Beyond Claims, Conjectures and Contradictions
Roderick J. Lawrence, School of Social Sciences (G3S), University of Geneva
Three common misconceptions about the relations between disciplinary competences
and methods and interdisciplinary research will be discussed in this paper. These
misconceptions have been conceptual barriers for the comprehension, the institutional
support, and the funding of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences and the
natural sciences. They have hindered the call for collaboration between disciplines
made in Open the Social Sciences in 1996.
The first misconception concerns the hegemony of integration attributed to
interdisciplinary research. Many authors have claimed during the last 20 years that
integration is a prerequisite for and outcome of interdisciplinary research and that
integration distinguishes this kind of research from disciplinary contributions. This
claim can be challenged according to the epistemology of interdisciplinary research
published not less than 40 years ago. For example, the contribution of the Swiss
psychologist Jean Piaget (1897 -- 1980), among others, proposed a plurality of different
modes of interdisciplinary research. His contribution showed that integration is not a
prerequisite but one mode and outcome.
The second misconception is the conjecture about the substitution of disciplinary
competences by interdisciplinarity. Since 1996, some authors have claimed that
interdisciplinary research replaces disciplinary research and these two types of
research are mutually exclusive. In contrast, cases of interdisciplinary research projects
illustrate the mutual interaction between uses of disciplinary competences and skills
and, simultaneously, a convergence towards other researchers trained in different
disciplines. The sharing of information, knowledge and know-how during collaborative
research projects does not question the relevance of disciplinary competences and
skills but these are applied in a different context than conventional disciplinary
research. This context requires a new capacity to combine these competences and skills
rather than simply juxtapose them.
The third misconception stems from criticisms of disciplinary specialisation, a subject
addressed at length in Open the Social Sciences. This misconception is founded on the
proposition that interdisciplinary research requires generalisation in contrast to
specialisation. Since 1996, there are conjectures that generalists will replace
disciplinary specialists in interdisciplinary research projects. While some authors argue
for the dismantling of disciplinary silos, others claim that disciplinary competences and
skills are not valued in interdisciplinary research. In contrast to these viewpoints,
interdisciplinary research can be interpreted as a kind of knowledge production
involving multiple disciplinary competences and skills, as well as professional know-
how, in order to analyse complex subjects and situations that are not contained within
the knowledge domains of any single discipline.
In 1996, Open the Social Sciences did not envisage the strength of these
misconceptions. Indeed the report did not present a definition or a succinct history of
interdisciplinarity. (It refers to multidisciplinarity without defining it). None-the-less,
the genesis of interdisciplinarity in the social sciences about a century ago has enabled
advances in our knowledge of a range of topics in the field of people-environment
relations. For example, human ecology has the capacity to transgress disciplinary
boundaries between the natural and social sciences in order to provide multiple
interpretations of ‘the ecological crisis.’ Consequently, the either/or dichotomy of the
current debate on disciplinary versus interdisciplinary research discussed in the special
issue of Nature (16th September 2015) needs to be surpassed. This paper argues that
disciplinary and interdisciplinary research can and should coexist. This convergence
requires more than the institutional reform of universities proposed in Open the Social
Sciences. It also requires a fundamental rethinking of the praxis of research within,
between and beyond disciplines.
Session 9
Big Data for Process Tracing
Virginia Ghiara, University of Kent
In recent years, the emergence of big data has become a dominant theme within
discussions of the future of the social sciences. It would be hardly denied, indeed, that
big data has opened up new opportunities for research. For instance, it is now possible
to collect data about social media interactions, product preferences, and a person’s
geographic location, which gives scientists access to vast amounts of information
previously unavailable. Comprehensibly, this possibility has caused great excitement
among those who aspire to enhance our causal understanding of the social world. At
the most basic level, big data allows social scientists to systematically and
quantitatively investigate social phenomena: after the so-called data deluge, the
availability of “dependent” and “independent” variables has increased considerably.
Furthermore, the access to big data might offer great insights into causal mechanisms.
In this paper I explore how big data can enhance social scientists’ ability to discover
causal mechanisms through the method of process tracing. Process tracing is an
“umbrella term” that covers three different research purposes and two methodological
approaches. To begin with, process tracing can be used to (i) test whether a causal
mechanism is operating in a case, (ii) build a theory about a causal mechanism between
two or more factors, (iii) crafts a sufficient explanation of a particular outcome (Beach
and Pedersen 2013). Moreover, evidence of mechanisms can be gathered both through
a case-oriented methodology and by means of experiments (Guala 2010).
With the aid of three case studies, I explore some ways in which big data can contribute
to achieving each of these objectives through one of the methodological approaches
mentioned above. In the first case study, data on mobile phone communications is
used to test the hypothesis according to which the economic equilibrium of a country
is caused by the movement of migrant workers (Blumenstock and Donaldson 2013).
The second case study deals with the formulation of a theory about a causal mechanism
linking the gender composition of a team and the team’s output. In this situation
particular devices, called sociometric badges, are used to collect empirical material in
order to detect observable manifestations of the operating causal mechanism (Olguín
and Pentland 2010). Finally, the third case study aims to explain a specific outcome, the
continuous growth of the population living in the biggest slum in Nairobi. To pursue
this goal, evidence from mobile phone data is gathered to find a sufficient cause of the
outcome (Wesolowski and Eagle 2009).
This investigation paves the way for further research on the role that big data will play
in the future of both quantitative and qualitative studies in the social sciences. In
addition, it allows us to imagine an upcoming scenario where the process of causal
discovery will transcend disciplinary borders, and the social sciences will be
characterized by blurring boundaries between quantitative and qualitative methods.
Beach, D. and Pedersen, R. B. (2013). Process-tracing methods: Foundations and
guidelines. University of Michigan Press.
Blumenstock, J. and Donaldson, D. (2013). “How Do Labor Markets Equilibrate? Using
Mobile Phone Records to Estimate the Effect of Local Labor Demand Shocks on Internal
Migration and Local Wages”. Proposal Summary for Application C2-RA4-205.
Guala, F. (2010). “Extrapolation, analogy, and comparative process tracing”. Philosophy
of Science, 77(5), 1070-1082.
Olguín, O. D. and Pentland, A. (2010). “Assessing Group Performance from Collective
Behavior”. CSCW 2010 Workshop on Collective Intelligence In Organizations. Savannah,
Wesolowski, A. P. and Eagle, N. (2009) 'Inferring human dynamics in slums using mobile
phone data.' Santa Fe, NM: Santa Fe Institute.
How to Build a Scientific Memory in Social Policy
Menno Rol, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
In the social sciences the call for evidence based policy is relatively recent. This
development in the view on what makes social science worth its salt gained ever more
ground in the years after the foundation of the Gulbenkian Commission. Social
scientific ideas inspiring policy interventions are not any longer accepted without some
proof of whether the interventions can work. This is less obvious than it may seem:
many non-complementary and even juxtaposed social theories continue to coexist.
This obstructs our learning of the working principles that social policy can lay hands on.
Is evidence based policy going to change this?
While claims about what to do in labour market policies, criminological interventions,
or other areas of social policy are taken seriously only if empirically founded, most
empirical research of what policy works focusses on mere impact measurement. The
difficulty of this limited focus is that we do not gain much knowledge of how to use the
knowledge about the effects of particular interventions in other contexts and at other
times. Large quantitative investigations with treatment and control groups are the rule.
The idea is that with impact analysis we can somehow try to capture causes. Crucial in
this idea is that the internal validity of experimental and quasi-experimental research
be the driving force in the evaluation of interventions. However, I shall make the point
that internal and external validity tends to trade-off: In most cases an internally valid
test result comes at the cost of usefulness in other contexts. How so?
The trade-off happens if the quest for internal validity brings about the treatment of
contextual variables -- that helped to make or fail the intervention -- as competing with
the intervention instead of necessary for its success. This is because investment in
internal validity takes the form of correction for bias and this inclines to obscure the
role of contextual factors rather than to expose it. As helping factors make or break the
intervention, they should rather be treated as causal factors of interest. I claim that,
only then, the conclusions of the (quasi)experiment can serve to gain knowledge of
working principles in a variety of contexts.
To be sure, correction for bias is necessary and impact analysis useful; but only if the
evaluation of the success of an intervention is theory driven. Explanatory theories
provide insight, both in the mechanisms that drive the intervention and in the
contextual conditions for their effect. In other words, there must be research into how
working principles operate in a variety of contexts -- or how they fail to do this. If no
theoretical hypotheses guide the questions of evaluation research, we are left with
little more than meaningless intervention-impact couples lacking any cognitive value.
In my paper I will discuss the conditions required for the useful employment of theory.
Firstly, a rich ontology is needed and preferably one that roots in interdisciplinary
perspectives. Secondly, this ontology should stretch beyond phenomenology, that is, it
must allow for causal talk. Thirdly, ex ante explanatory hypotheses are to be the
starting point of evaluation research and testing them the object of it.
Evidence based social science can only be useful for building a scientific memory -- and
hence for any hope to ever design effective policies -- if at least these three conditions
are met.
Towards a Naturalization of Social Sciences: A Case Study on Semantic
Social Networks Analysis
Emile Gayoso, Laboratoire Technique Territoire et Sociétés
Contemporary sociology and anthropology have been deeply influenced by works
whose main challenge was to overhaul the distinction between nature and culture.
These include the emblematic research lead by Bruno Latour or Philippe Descola, the
first in the field of the sociology of science and technology (Latour, 1991), the second
in what he calls himself an 'anthropology of nature' (Descola, 2005). Both authors agree
to move the border that social scientists previously placed between naturals beings
and cultural beings to a dotted line which separates humans from non-humans, these
latter constantly weaving complex links to the first ones and forming 'hybrid networks'.
In their introduction to the book Naturalism versus constructivism (de Fornel & al.,
2007), de Fornel and Lemieux seek to overcome the sterile opposition between
'constructivism' and 'naturalism' and call for a 'non-reductionist naturalization of social
sciences'. The authors identify two possible routes for such a conversion of social
sciences. The first one would be a praxeology concerned with institutions not as
abstract social constructs but in action. The second one with the approach proposed
by Descola, Latour and Callon and is called a 'metaphysicalist comparatism', which
would allow to 'never lose sight of that the naturalist-constructivist metaphysics is not
the only possible method to refer to the existing'.
In this paper, we propose to consider, in light of these theoretical distinctions, the path
followed by a stream of research emerging in social sciences: the semantic social
networks analysis. This field of research has emerged from the convergence of
methods from science of complex systems and sociology. In particular, French
researchers from the former Centre de recherche en Epistémologie Appliquée (CREA)
in the Polytechnique School have developped both a conceptual framework and
methodological tools (an online platform allowing socio-semantics corpus analysis) in
order to give an empirical basis to the concept of 'epistemic communities'. First
confined to the analysis of scientific communities (Roth, 2005; Cointet, 2009), this
model has been gradually extended to other data, particularly those produced by the
Internet users (Taraborelli & Roth, 2011 ; Cardon & alii, 2014).
The greatest ambition of this stream is clearly expressed in one of the first PhD thesis
is this domain about 'co-evolution in epistemic networks': 'Agents producing and
exchanging knowledge are forming as a whole a socio-semantic complex system.
Studying such knowledge communities offers theoretical challenges, with the
perspective of naturalizing further social sciences, as well as practical challenges, with
potential applications enabling agents to know the dynamics of the system they are
participating in.' (Roth, 2005).
It seems to us that these approaches show a very thorough formalization of the actor-
network theory since it is based on the joint analysis of 'individuals' and 'concepts', id
est humans and non-humans, the latter being objectified, made actors with their
representation as nodes in socio-semantic networks. In addition, the researchers of
this current, first trained in mathematics, physics and complex systems, are claiming a
'naturalization of the social sciences' project calls an epistemological questioning and
debate among practitioners of sociology.
Thus, relying both on a corpus of documents representative of the development of this
line of research, and on a study of the diffusion in European social sciences institutions
of the ideas, tools and researchers supporting the semantic social network analysis, we
propose to highlight the methodological and epistemological concerns of the
expansion of this research field for social sciences
In comparison with the use of other new quantitative methods in sociology like multi-
agents models, which have already provoked reactions in the social complex systems
analysis community (Venturini & alii, 2015)
Jean-Philippe Cointet, Dynamiques sociales et sémantiques dans les communautés de
savoirs. Morphognès et diffusion, Thèse de sociologie de l’Ecole Polytechnique, 2009.
Philippe Descola, Par-delà nature et culture, Gallimard, coll. « Bibliothèque des sciences
humaines », 2005.
Dominique Cardon et al., « Topographie de la renommée en ligne. Un modèle structurel
des communautés thématiques du web français et allemand », Réseaux 2014/6 (n°
188), p. 85-120.
Michel de Fornel, Cyril Lemieux (dir.), Naturalisme versus constructivisme ?, Éditions
de l'EHESS, coll. « Enquête », 2007.
Bruno Latour, Nous n’avons jamais t modernes -- Essai d’anthropologie symtrique,
La Découverte, 1991.
Camille Roth, Coevolution in epistemic networks. Reconstructing Social Complex
Systems, Thèse de doctorat de l’Ecole Polytechnique, 2005.
Taraborelli Dario, Camille Roth, “Viable Web Communities: Two Case Studies”, in
Viability and Resilience of Complex Systems, Springer, 2011.
Tommaso Venturini, Pablo Jensen & Bruno Latour (2015), « Fill in the Gap. A New
Alliance for Social and Natural Sciences », Journal of Artificial Societies and Social
Simulation 18 (2) 11, <>
Session 10
Policy Responses to Open the Social Sciences”? Mixed Messages for the
Academic Community
Catherine Lyall, University of Edinburgh
One might be forgiven for assuming that 'interdisciplinarity' is the new zeitgeist in
academic research and, increasingly, in higher education teaching (e.g. Lyall et al.,
2015). The term is ubiquitous but also contested (Callard and Fitzgerald, 2015).
Powerful voices have lent weight to interdisciplinarity over the past decade, described
as 'vital' for universities (Commission to the Council and the European Parliament,
2006) and recognised as a global research phenomenon (Global Research Council,
2016). Yet, for every policy statement and publication promoting this 'new' mode of
research and teaching there are vocal detractors.
Recognition of the need for interdisciplinary research to address global, societal
challenges is accelerating, underpinned by an array of policy statements and funding
schemes designed to facilitate this form of research (e.g. the UK Research Councils’
Global Challenges Research Fund and the European Union’s Horizon 2020). At the same
time, there is a burgeoning literature on the many challenges posed by
interdisciplinarity, especially for those trying to foster an academic career.
Interdisciplinary research is by no means regarded as 'mainstream' and, indeed, has
been described as 'career suicide' by some.
This presentation will discuss some of the paradoxes within recent policy statements
in the UK such as the Stern Review of the Research Excellence Framework and the
British Academy’s 'Crossing Paths' report and the mixed messages that these present,
especially for early career researchers, where the British Academy urges its
constituency to 'develop an academic home and remain attached to it' even while
being encouraged to engage with those working in different disciplines. Other
commentators embrace earlier commitments to interdisciplinarity arguing that
'Postponing interdisciplinary work to the time a researcher is well established means
that such research is generally pursued as a side activity' (Sperber, 2003, quoted in
Henry 2005).
If we want to capture the creative potential of interdisciplinary research, how should
we best address these mixed, policy messages? How, as a community, should we
manage the contradictions between the institutionalisation of IDR (peer review,
training, etc.) and supporting what Klein calls the ‘mission for insurgency’ inherent in
British Academy (2016). Crossing paths: Interdisciplinary institutions, careers,
education and applications. London: British Academy
Callard, F. and Fitzgerald, D. (2015). Rethinking Interdisciplinarity across the Social
Sciences and Neurosciences. Palgrave Pivot.
Commission to the Council and the European Parliament (2006). Modernising
Universities. Communication of 10 May 2006 from the Commission to the Council and
the European Parliament -- Delivering on the modernisation agenda for universities:
education, research and innovation [COM(2006) 208 final]. http://eur-\%3Ac11089 (last accessed 7 July
Global Research Council (2016). Statement of Principles on Interdisciplinarity, May
Henry, S. (2005). Disciplinary Hegemony Meets Interdisciplinary Ascendancy: Can
Interdisciplinary/Integrative Studies Survive, and If So, How?' Issues in Integrative
Studies, 23:1-37.
Klein, J. T. (2010). Creating Interdisciplinary Campus Culture. San Francisco: Jossey-
Lyall, C., Meagher, L., Bandola, J. and Kettle, A. (2015). Interdisciplinary provision in
higher education: current and future challenges, Report to Higher Education Academy,
August 2015.
Sperber, D. (2003). Why rethink interdisciplinarity? Presentation for the virtual
seminar, Rethinking Interdisciplinarity accessed 2
July 2016).
Cultural Configurations and Institutional Conditions of Inter- and
Transdisciplinary Knowledge Production at Universities
Bianca Vienni Baptista, Center of Mehtods, Leuphana University
Ulli Vilsmaier, Center of Methods, Leuphana University
In the last decades, the call for interdisciplinarity (ID) and transdisciplinarity (TD) has
permeated discourses in science and higher education policies. A major problem is that
ID and TD are still not mainstream: they are rarely supported by funders of scientific
research, are rarely taught in higher education curricula, and they are not recognized
by many academic institutions. At the same time there is a call for re-defining the role
of science and universities in society. Academic institutions should take over more
responsibility to actively tackle pressing societal challenges through ID and TD
knowledge production. The concept of Transformative Science is a promising
perspective to strengthen ID and TD at universities.
The paper presents the progress done in the project entitled 'Challenges in
interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledge production: institutions, cultures and
communities'. This research investigates challenges ID and TD knowledge production,
focusing on processes of institutionalization, cultural transformations and the
characteristics of communities.
The starting points for this research are two universities that have tackled the challenge
of incorporating ID and TD in their institutional structure and study programs: the
Center of Methods (Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany) and the Espacio
Interdisciplinario (Universidad de la República, Uruguay) (UdelaR).
In these two case studies, the historical background of the formation of institutions,
cultures and communities and the current state of ID and TD knowledge production
are being analysed to develop strategies that enable ID and TD at universities. The
research integrates three core concepts (institutions, cultures and communities) with
two crosscutting axes: (i) epistemic living spaces and (ii) interculturality, which serve as
frameworks for the empirical analysis.
This paper presents the methodological strategy; which takes ethnography as the main
research method. This way of knowing, by studying with things or people instead of
making studies of them, has long been key to understand the relevance of
anthropology. The research forges a new approach to understand the relation between
movement, knowledge and description.
The main issue addressed here is to rethink ethnography as the main method to obtain:
(i) an analysis of the relevance of this method to be applied to ID and TD knowledge
production process, (ii) a reflection on the role that Social Sciences and Humanities may
play in ID and TD research and (iii) the contribution that Science, Technology and
Science Studies (STS) can make to a transformative science.
Insight should contribute to university policies that foster their contribution to pressing
societal challenges and their role in transforming societies. In this paper, we will
present first results on fostering and hindering aspects in creating ID and TD institutions
within the two universities that serve as case studies. Besides policy analysis we are
particularly interested in the formation of ‘in-between spaces’ that are shared by
persons inhabiting diverse epistemic living spaces (Felt et al. 2009; Felt, 2015) and the
process of building temporary and enduring ID and TD communities. The main outcome
of this study, which is partially presented here as this is on-going research, is to
contribute to the construction of a field of research named 'Studies on Inter- and
Transdisciplinarity' (SIT) within the framework of Science, Technology and Society
European Research Funding, Frontier Research, and Unintended
Consequences of Interdisciplinarity in the Social Sciences
Barbara Hoenig, University of Luxembourg
European funding allows science policy actors to directly influence what previously was
mainly the task of national, regional and local research councils: the definition of
research problems and knowledge content. In the social sciences, European funding
has always been interested in enabling problem-oriented, interdisciplinary research of
supranational scope instead of sponsoring disciplinary-specific knowledge that usually
mediates problem choice. This also entailed to acknowledge the ability of the social
sciences to respond to social problems far beyond the narrow scope of purely academic
contexts of generating knowledge. Whereas from the mid-1990s onwards, the
Research Framework Programmes of the European Union fostered interdisciplinary,
mission-oriented public research in the social sciences, recent initiatives of 'excellent
science', such as those represented by the European Research Council (ERC), more
explicitly aim at the frontiers of research which are by definition interdisciplinary, open
to be pursued in all fields of science.
For the envisaged type of knowledge resulting from innovative research processes, the
ERC regards three characteristics as constitutive: its fast growth, inter-disciplinary
nature, and high risk. It is intertwined with a particular faith of European research
policies in exclusively benefits of research undertaken at large scales and of extended
scope. So what counts as knowledge of 'European excellence'? What about cognitive
commonalities in research funded by the ERC? How might supranational funding affect
scientific disciplines differently, in particular by promoting inter-disciplinarily and large-
scale research?
This paper critically engages with some anticipated, but also unintended consequences
of interdisciplinary in the social sciences in general, and for sociology in particular, as
potentially resulting from European research funding programmes. The main thesis
concerning interdisciplinary is that sociology to a greater extent than other social
scientific disciplines may be vulnerable to external pressures toward exporting its
knowledge to interdisciplinary applied 'social studies'. The latter are addressed by
European research funding's claims towards fostering frontier research. Concerning
large-scale research, effects of entirely decoupling social scientific research from its
local contexts of relevance at worst might lead to the societal irrelevance and de-
legitimation of public social science altogether.
These assumptions on potential unintended effects of funding upon knowledge
content are comparatively scrutinised in a case study on social scientific research
funded by the ERC from 2007 to 2015 in three disciplines: sociology, economics, and
history. The comparative inquiry on different meanings of frontier research in the
disciplines is based on applying and integrating a combination of research techniques
such as bibliometric analyses of knowledge growth, content analyses of research
projects, and semi-structured interviews with excellent researchers in the (social)
sciences and humanities.
Session 11
Re-Conceptualizing Social Research in the ‘Digital Era’. Issues of
Scholarships, Methods and Epistemologies
Chiara Carrozza, Centro de Estudos Sociais
This communication addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with the
emergence of a relatively new sub-discipline, or, better, community of practices, within
the social sciences: digital sociology. Digital sociology has come to identify an emerging
area of sociology that examines many aspects of digital society, opening at the same
time the space for a reflexive analysis about sociological thinking (interrogating taken-
for-granted presumptions of who or what constitutes the “social”) and sociological
professional practices.
Indeed, the challenges and opportunities that digital technologies and cultures present
to social scientists go far beyond dissemination, accessibility and recognition of
scholarship. One of the main contentions of several social scientists that are engaging
in contributing to digital sociology is that the same research practice of social sciences
can extend in new and exciting directions. This does not mean that traditional research
methods and topics need to be discarded but, rather, that social scientists could both
investigate the emerging approaches that can be adopted for digital social research
(delving into how these various approaches contribute to the production, shaping and
interpretation of the social) and continue to interrogate, possibly to innovate, the
traditional methods and their ability to respond to digital societies. In some respect,
this calls into question the need for not simply learning how to use new technologies
and devices, but also to think with them, in order to approach the digital not as a
neutral or free-floating technological abstraction but as relational, social, and
For this purpose, as social scientists Evelyn Ruppert, John Law and Mike Savage
suggested, scholars coming from the social sciences and the humanities need to “get
their hands dirty” and explore the affordances of digital technologies in terms of how
do these tools collect, store and transmit numerical, textual, aural or visual signals and
how they work with respect to standard methods in social science. Indeed, digital social
research, sociologist Noortje Marres has claimed, could be approached as an open-
ended process of redistribution of methods among a diverse set of non-human and
human agents, in which a wide range of expertise, knowledge and skills come to
interact and collaborate, crossing the borders of traditional disciplinary fields of
Drawing on rich empirical material (collected through interviews, focus groups and
participant observation) coming from the research project “The importance of being
digital: exploring digital academic practices and methods', funded by the Portuguese
Fundation for Science and Technology (FCT), this communication focuses situated
experiences and experiments towards reconceptualising research in the digital era, in
terms of scholarship, methodology and epistemology, exploring and questioning the
challenges and opportunities that interdisciplinary research poses in this context.
The Interdisciplinary Study of Late Gothic Heritage Through the
Application of Data Technologies
Patricia Ferreira Lopes, Department of Architectural Graphic Representation, research
group HUM799, Universidad de Sevilla
Francisco Pinto Puerto, Department of Architectural Graphic Representation, research
group HUM799 Universidad de Sevilla
The Late Gothic heritage architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, as in other historical
periods, is the result of a network of relationships between European circumstances
and events. To understand the complexity of its network is necessary an
interdisciplinary view and a multifocal analysis in order to organize a large number of
sources and heterogeneous historical data to observe and interpret their relationships.
Works, quarries, transport of materials, construction techniques, teachers and patrons
trips, scientific resources, they can be seen related in various ways, showing relational
'maps' and/or “graph” that were impossible to obtain through traditional resources.
This paper is the result of an investigation conducted by the present authors in the
ETSA of Seville, in collaboration with other Centers and Research groups: Late Gothic
Network, CulturePlex Lab at the University of Western Ontario, GPAC research group
at the University of Basque Country and the Faculty of Geography and History at the
University of Seville. Different institutions, disciplines (architecture, geography,
archaeology, history, computer science, data science and intelligent science) and tools
designing new methods to improve the perspective in the field of heritage and culture
by considering social, political, economic and cultural evolutions. The process of
interdisciplinary teamwork itself is part of our objectives and it´s progress is highly
perceived throughout the development of the research. Although in the first year of
research most of the time was devoted to structuring our own disciplinary 'languages',
this also helped us to better understand the different fields and facilitate our
communication in generating and processing the documents and information we
Technological development has allowed us a breakthrough in documenting heritage
through new digital tools capable of designing relational information models. In this
project we demonstrate how all different historical information could be organized and
structured in two digital models - GIS and Graphs -- in order to generate a more
comprehensive and flexible understanding through a combined knowledge of space,
time and actors. On the one hand, the GIS model consider the constructive and
territorial context of the phenomenon of late Gothic, with information associated to
each element spatially referenced; on the other hand, the model based on Graphs
contemplates the relationship between the agents involved in the architectural
production and its activities between mid-s. XV and the first half of s. XVI. The fact that
the management of these tools is still not very common in the heritage field, especially
with this approach, encouraged us to create our own structure and work method - very
different from what has been carried out.
In this sense, the use of multiple methods and the development of an interdisciplinary
research has allowed us to achieve three important aspects: promote different
perspectives on the subject allowing a wider view about the case of study; work with a
large variety of variables; provide multiple analyses, which increases the validity of the
research that remains open and upgradeable. Therefore, what we seek is to provide
new methods and new approaches that do not override other traditional systems but
enrich the discussion on the past and its relationship with the inheritance, and make it
possible to influence on societies’
capacities for transformation.
The Specific Shapes of Gender Imbalance in Scientific Authorships: A
Network Approach (*)
Tanya Araújo, ISEG Lisbon School of Economics and Management Universidade de
Lisboa; UECE, Research Unit on Complexity and Economics, Portugal
Elsa Fontainha, ISEG Lisbon School of Economics and Management Universidade de
Lisboa, Portugal
The research intends to contribute to the differences of research collaboration and
interdisciplinary participation by gender. Focusing in Economics, a scientific subject
strongly connected to other scientific domains, and constructing five categories of
articles in a gender authorship perspective, this study addresses both issues: research
collaboration and interdisciplinarity.
Gender differences in collaborative research have received little attention when
compared with the growing importance that women hold in academia and research.
Unsurprisingly, most of bibliometric databases have a strong lack of directly available
information by gender. Although empirical-based network approaches are often used
in the study of research collaboration, the studies about the influence of gender
dissimilarities on the resulting topological outcomes are still scarce. Here, networks of
scientific subjects are used to characterize patterns that might be associated to five
categories of authorships which were built based on gender. We find enough evidence
that gender imbalance in scientific authorships brings a peculiar trait to the networks
induced from papers published in Web of Science (WoS) indexed journals of Economics
over the period 2010--2015 and having at least one author affiliated to a Portuguese
Our results show the emergence of a specific pattern when the network of co-occurring
subjects is induced from a set of papers exclusively authored by men. Such a male-
exclusive authorship condition is found to be the solely responsible for the emergence
of that particular shape in the network structure. This peculiar trait might facilitate
future network analysis of research collaboration and interdisciplinarity.
Regarding interdisciplinarity, our findings seem to contradict the hypothesis that
women have more propensity to inter-disciplinary research collaboration. Moreover,
we found that academic women in Economics compared with their male counterparts
reveal preference for the subjects Environmental Sciences, Management and Political
Sciences and that, conversely, the subjects Social Sciences, Mathematics and Finance
display higher frequencies in papers either inclusively or exclusively authored by men.
Our main contribution relies in the adoption of a network approach allowing to uncover
the emergence of a specific pattern when the network of scientific subjects is induced
from a set of papers exclusively authored by men. Such a male exclusive authorship
condition is found to be the solely responsible for the emergence of that specific shape
in the structure of the network. Moving away from a star motif together with the loss
of centrality of the subject Management have an important bearing on the structure of
the male exclusive authorship network: when papers authorship includes just men, the
larger distances between subjects in the network become even larger and this is mainly
due to a decrease in the relative number of papers having Management as a secondary
(*) Araújo, T. & Fontainha, E. (2017). The specific shapes of gender imbalance in
scientific authorships: a network approach, Journal of Informetrics, 11(1), 88-102.
Organised by INTREPID and TINT with support from the Calouste Gulbenkian
Conference Organizers: Uskali Mäki, Olivia Bina, Marta Varanda
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Process-tracing in social science is a method for studying causal mechanisms linking causes with outcomes. This enables the researcher to make strong inferences about how a cause (or set of causes) contributes to producing an outcome. Derek Beach an.
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Publiées en français pour la première fois, et discutées, les analyses d'Anne W. Rawls renouvellent le regard porté sur E. Durkheim. La relecture qu'elle fait de Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse propose un modèle aux sciences sociales pour relever le défi que leur posent aujourd'hui le naturalisme et l'évolutionnisme des sciences de la vie.
Comparative process tracing is the best analysis of extrapolation inferences in the philosophical and scientific literature so far. In this essay I examine some similarities and differences between comparative process tracing and former attempts to capture the logic of extrapolation, such as the analogical approach. I show that these accounts are not different in spirit, although comparative process tracing supersedes previous proposals in terms of analytical detail. I also examine some qualms about the possibility of drawing extrapolation inferences in the social sciences and conclude by suggesting that there may be cases of extrapolation without process tracing.
Introduction The Human Dynamics research group at the MIT Media Laboratory has demonstrated that wearable technology can be used to characterize face-to-face interactions, measure individual and collective patterns of human behavior, and automatically map out a company's de facto organizational chart (Choudhury & Pentland, 2003; Pentland, 2006; Olguin-Olguin et al., 2009a, 2009b). This capability can be an extraordinary resource for studying group behavior, group performance and team formation processes. With that goal in mind we developed the Sociometric badges, wearable electronic sensors capable of detecting face-to-face interactions, conversations, body movement, and proximity to others (Olguin-Olguin, 2007). The Sociometric badges are capable of extracting speech features without recording the content of conversations in order to maintain privacy, and of wirelessly transferring data to a central server. We have used them in several organizations to capture face-to-face communication patterns and study the relationship between collective behavior and performance outcomes, such as productivity and job satisfaction (Olguin-Olguin et al., 2009a, 2009b; Wu et al., 2008). The design of the Sociometric badges was motivated by the fact that a large number of organizations already require employees to wear RFID name tags that identify them and grant them access to several locations and resources. These traditional RFID name tags are usually worn around the neck or clipped to the user's clothing. With the rapid miniaturization of electronics, it is now possible to augment RFID badges with more sensors and computational power that allow us to capture human behavior without requiring any additional effort on the user's side. By capturing individual and collective patterns of human behavior with Sociometric badges and correlating these behaviors with individual and group performance, it is possible to identify successful vs. unsuccessful teams, high performing teams, and predict group outcomes. The added value for the users is the feedback that they can receive about their daily behaviors and interactions with others, and how these behaviors affect their individual and group performance. Collective intelligence is sometimes defined as the ability of a group to solve problems more effectively than any of its individual members (Heylighen, 1999). The term is also used to describe several web tools aimed at improving group performance, such as wikis, social networking sites, and other software programs that facilitate group collaboration. Sociometric badges are measurement tools that facilitate the study of collective behavior and help organizations maximize their groups' collective intelligence through specialized software that analyzes behavioral patterns and generates automatic feedback reports and dynamic visualizations. We can design organizational interventions based on these measurements and feedback mechanisms. 2 In this paper we present two studies in which we used Sociometric badges to capture individual behavior and assess group performance from aggregated behavioral features across members of the same group. We focus on behavioral features such as: the amount of face-to-face interaction, the number of different people with whom a person interacts (degree), physical activity, speech activity, and time in close proximity to others, as measured by the Sociometric badges. These behavioral features have been used in several of our studies, and have been repeatedly correlated with performance outcomes.