Academic disciplines provide a framework for the transfer of kwledge from one generation to the next. Not only do they shape our education and understanding, they structure our professional lives. Interdisciplinarity, the reconfiguration of academic disciplines and the boundaries between them, has lately become a field of major interest to scholars and policy makers. This collection brings together the latest research and analysis from this emerging field. The editors take as their central thesis the idea that the existing matrix of disciplines is dissolving, leading to fundamental changes in the traditional order of kwledge. Contributors to the volume include specialists from Canada, Australia, Europe, and the United States who focus on the actual practice of interdisciplinarity: the ways in which it is researched, organized, and taught in institutes and universities around the world. The role of funding bodies is also considered, revealing the relationship and the delineation of disciplines and their resource bases. Together, the essays offer first-hand insights into the operations and successes of some of the world's foremost interdisciplinary research centres. In acquainting us with the current state of interdisciplinary research the volume also considers the social and ecomic contexts that make such research possible.
Nico Stehr is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Alberta. During the 2000/2001 academic year, he held fellowships at the Hanse Centre for Advanced Studies and the Centre for Advanced Cultural Studies, in Germany. Peter Weingart is a professor at the Institute for Science and Technology Studies, University of Bielefeld, Germany.