Chapter 3: Goal

When is interdisciplinarity necessary or of added value?

‘Interdisciplinarity’ has become a ubiquitous academic buzzword or, as one of our interviewees put it, a rarely scrutinized ‘hooray term’. Research institutes proudly advertise their ‘interdisciplinary orientation’; rant applications routinely mention the ‘cross-disciplinary’ scope of the proposed research. Given this often unquestioned enthusiasm, one should ask a set of basic questions: Why is interdisciplinary research to be welcomed? Which research objects or problems require an interdisciplinary approach? Which of these might best be addressed via the in-depth expertise of one discipline? However, as disciplines are hardly ever a single unified ‘thing’, these questions may themselves be oversimplifying the current situation at universities and research institutes.


Editors-in-chief: Bram Mellink & Linda Douw
Editors: Anastasia Sergeeva, Antske Fokkens, Boris Noordenbos,
Elsje van Bergen, Miriam Wijkman, Theo Araujo
Illustrations: Merel Barends
Graphic design: Aldus’ producties; Tijl Akkermans
and Kars van den Heuvel
Twitter: @ayoungacademy

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