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Message posted on 22/02/2021

CfP ‘Struggles for Power, Legitimacy, and Control between Disciplines within Interdisciplinary Research Organizations’ – 4S Annual Meeting 2021

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit a paper proposal to the Open Panel ‘Struggles for Power, Legitimacy, and Control between Disciplines within Interdisciplinary Research Organizations’ (Open Panel 168) at the 2021 4S Annual Meeting (October 6-9, 2021). More information is included below. The deadline for submission is March 8. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Simcha Jong and Richelle Boone, INSCONS project , Leiden University

Contact: s.jong@liacs.leidenuniv.nl or r.n.boone@sbb.leidenuniv.nl

‘Struggles for Power, Legitimacy, and Control between Disciplines within Interdisciplinary Research Organizations’ (Open Panel 168)

As the scientific endeavour is increasingly oriented towards addressing ‘global challenges’, interdisciplinary research organisations are becoming ever more important. Within such organisations different disciplinary groups collaborate while at the same time vying for power, legitimacy, and control. Our panel examines how these dynamics affect the work within interdisciplinary research organisations. Unevenly distributed power among participating disciplines and, related to that, divergent disciplinary (epistemic) statuses can for instance be a risk for successful interdisciplinary collaboration (Reich & Reich, 2006). Organization members might for example experience hindering feelings of subordination, or of superiority. And if an organization is part of a wider interdisciplinary field, ‘disciplinary inequalities’ within this field ─ such as unequal funding, publishing or job opportunities for members of different disciplines ─ could be perpetuated or have an impact on the social dynamics at the organizational level.

Questions we seek to address during the panel are: What kind of challenges do disciplinary power struggles pose for the success of interdisciplinary research organizations? Might there be any epistemic effects? And how exactly do the dynamics between members of different disciplines at the scientific field level relate to those at the organizational level? Organizational structures are said to reflect the power relations among constituting groups (e.g. Collins, 1981), is this effect present in interdisciplinary research organizations? Even in cases where policy makers are in charge of determining the organizational set-up? How do, or might, research organizations mitigate ─ for social or epistemic reasons ─ tensions between participating disciplines? In which ways can STS insights, for instance about the hierarchical structure of scientific fields (Albert & Kleinman, 2011), epistemic cultures (Knorr-Cetina, 1999) or (other) laboratory studies observations on power struggles, inform strategies to deal with disciplinary power imbalances in interdisciplinary research organizations?

References

Albert, M., & Kleinman, D. L. (2011). Bringing Bourdieu to Science and Technology Studies. Minerva, 49(3), 263─273.

Collins, R. (1981). On the Microfoundations of Macrosociology. American Journal of Sociology, 86(5), 984─1014.

Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999). Epistemic Cultures: How the Sciences Make Knowledge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Reich, S. M., & Reich, J. A. (2006). Cultural competence in interdisciplinary collaborations: A method for respecting diversity in research partnerships. American journal of community psychology, 38(1─2), 51─62.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary research organizations, disciplinary power struggles, power and legitimacy and control, organizational strategies, role of STS


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