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Disciplinarity and peripheries.

Fremantle, Chris



By analogy disciplines are a form of ‘centre’ and work across disciplines involves focusing on edges. Some people conceptualise disciplines to have ‘near’ and ‘far’ relations i.e. visual art is ‘near’ art history and ‘far’ from environmental modelling. Disciplines certainly don’t sit tightly next to each other and there are definitely gaps between them – we only need to think about the rationale for ‘multi-disciplinary teams’ in ensuring that these gaps are addressed and acknowledged in for example healthcare between clinical, nursing and other health professionals. This conceptualisation also raises interesting analogies in the other direction, including the possibility that attention to linking two ‘centres’ can produce, in the ‘periphery’, a new centre. The interdisciplinary developments between biology and chemistry resulted in due course in the emergence of bio-chemistry as a new discipline (and thus a new ‘centre’). One of the abiding ‘disciplinary’ debates is whether the objective is synthesis and holism – is the objective to produce centres or even one totalising centre? This presentation will be a meditation on the issues of disciplinarity as a spending time with edges and differences, drawing on the writings of Basarab Nicolescu (multi-, inter- trans-disciplinarity), Gavin Little (proximity and distance), and Murdo Macdonald & George Davie (the Scottish tradition of the Democratic Intellect).


FREMANTLE, C. 2019. Disciplinarity and peripheries. Presented at the 2nd Gray's research conference 2019: the periphery, 5 October 2019, Aberdeen, UK.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 2nd Gray's research conference 2019 : the periphery
Conference Location Aberdeen, UK
Start Date Oct 4, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 8, 2019
Keywords Interdisciplinary; Cross-disciplinary; Multi-disciplinary; Transdisciplinary; Collaboration; Participation; Co-production; Co-creativity; Co-design
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