What lies beyond reductionism? Taking stock of interdisciplinary research in ecological economics

Katharine N. Farrell, Tommaso Luzzati, Sybille Van den Hove

Producción científica: Capítulo en Libro/ReporteCapítulo


Introduction Although it is now commonplace to call for interdisciplinary study of socialecological systems, the question of how one is to carry out such study remains largely open. Our aim in this chapter is to shed some light on that question, based on a small but growing discourse concerning inter-and transdisciplinary research methodology. We begin by reviewing two areas of interdisciplinary social-ecological systems (SES) research with which we have experience as researchers and evaluators: biodiversity loss and mega-contaminated site remediation. On the basis of this review we propose an ontology of SES research and develop some suggestions regarding how effective SES research methodologies can be developed. We then conclude the chapter with a series of concrete suggestions regarding how it may be possible to develop and evaluate the quality of integrative interdisciplinary SES research methods. A first notable characteristic, common to all SES research projects, which we take as given in the following pages, is that they are at least multi-, generally inter-and often transdisciplinary. That is to say, the pool of knowledge required to investigate an SES research problematique must, by definition (since it is concerned with social-ecological relationships), span at least two and often several disciplines and is likely to have at least a policy relevance, if not a direct policy advice or even policy design orientation (Costanza 1989; Norgaard 1989; MaxNeef 2005).1 In recent years a great number of subtly different definitions have been proposed for distinguishing between the three categories of multi-, inter-and transdisciplinarity. Distilling them to a few common denominators, we can say that multidisciplinary research collates completed pieces of disciplinary work; that interdisciplinary research integrates various discipline-based contributions in the course of problem formulation, method development and application, and analysis of results: while transdisciplinary work moves beyond the domain of disciplinarity, generating new approaches to scientific knowledge production that either transcend the formalism of a discipline altogether and/or operationalize integrative collaborations between academics and non-academics, such as local communities and/or policy-makers, as a core part of the scientific work.

Idioma originalInglés estadounidense
Título de la publicación alojadaBeyond Reductionism
Subtítulo de la publicación alojadaA Passion for Interdisciplinarity
EditorialTaylor and Francis
Número de páginas40
ISBN (versión digital)9781136281716
ISBN (versión impresa)9780415470148
EstadoPublicada - ene. 1 2013
Publicado de forma externa

Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus

  • Economía, econometría y finanzas (todo)
  • Administración de Empresas y Contabilidad General


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