Volume 7, Number 1, 2011

prise-deparole-logo-40This journal is published in French only.

Rachid Bagaoui and Alain Beaulieu

Y a-t-il une théorie en interdisciplinarité? avant-propos (p. 13–14)

Julie Thompson Klein

A Taxonomy of Interdisciplinarity (Une taxinomie de l’interdisciplinarité) (p. 15–48)


The three most widely used terms associated with interdisciplinarity – multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary – constitute a core taxonomy for understanding the degree of interaction and integration among disciplines and the degree of collaboration in teamwork. Typologies further distinguish methodological activities aimed at improving results from theoretical frameworks which are of a more comprehensive or epistemological form. Bridge building leaves existing approaches intact, while restructuration produces new interdisciplines and fields. Instrumental or opportunistic problem solving differs from critical forms that question the existing structure of knowledge and education. Transdisciplinarity encompasses the quest for unity as well as new transcendent frameworks for understanding complex phenomena and trans-sector research involving stakeholders in society.

Keywords: Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, integration, collaboration.

Simon Laflamme

Interdisciplinary Research and Reflection on Interdisciplinarity (Recherche interdisciplinaire et réflexion sur l’interdisciplinarité) (p. 49–64)


Interdisciplinarity constitutes a common and fertile scientific practice; accordingly, there are numerous interdisciplinary theories, but there is no theory of interdisciplinarity. Essays on interdisciplinarity speak of an approach destined to save the world, dichotomize monodisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, or draw typologies of interdisciplinary work. However, they do not generate theories of interdisciplinarity. In fact, the project of such a theory is absurd because if scientific theories exist, a theory of science cannot.This is what the current paper will argue.

Key-words: Interdisciplinarity, epistemology, typology.

Frédéric Darbellay

Towards a Theory of Interdisciplinarity? Between Unity and Diversity (Vers une théorie de l’interdisciplinarité? Entre unité et diversité) (p. 65–87)


Interdisciplinarity is emerging as a new development in academic education and research. The analysis of its potential, but also the obstacles it encounters, highlights the complex relationship it has with institutionalized disciplines. Interdisciplinarity is seen here as an interaction process between different disciplines and not just as a simple addition of heterogeneous knowledges. Instead of asserting that there is a unified theory, which would be equivalent to the birth of a new paradigm, we must instead take into account the diverse epistemological positions that work together for the co-development of the interdisciplinary process.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, human and social sciences, complexity, paradigm, dialogism.

Basarab Nicolescu

Interdisciplinarity to Transdisciplinarity: Methodological Foundation for Dialogue between the Humanities and Sciences (De l’interdisciplinarité à la transdisciplinarité : fondation méthodologique du dialogue entre les sciences humaines et les sciences exactes) (p. 89–103)


This paper analyzes how transdisciplinarity can lead to a methodological foundation of dialogue between two post-modern cultures (techno culture and spiritual culture) and between the social sciences and natural sciences.

Keywords: Knowledge, method, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity.

Anne-Françoise Schmid, Muriel Mambrini-Doudet, and Armand Hatchuel

A New Logic of Interdisciplinarity (Une nouvelle logique de l’interdisciplinarité) (p. 105–136)


A non-standard epistemology, relatively autonomous of the disciplines and of the present, is necessary to characterize a new logic of interdisciplinarity. This will show how the crisis of representation in science, contemporary changes in scientific object, heterogeneity and incompatibility of models (another narrative of the future in the sciences), leads us to practice an “interdiscipline” that cannot be characterized as a combination of different disciplinary knowledges. We will show how, within this heterogeneity, building “sites of interdiscipline” allows for new relations between the disciplines, including democratic relations between disciplines. This implies a translation or derivation from disciplines, and a concept of objects as “unknowns” and not represented at a “phenomenological distance”.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, discipline, object, generic epistemology, “Site of Interdiscipline”, iteration.

Wiktor Stoczkowski

The Dual Quest: An Essay on the Cosmological Dimension of Social Science Interdisciplinary Syntheses (La double quête : un essai sur la dimension cosmologique de synthèses interdisciplinaires en sciences sociales) (p. 137–155)


Since their emergence, social sciences have been engaged in a double quest: on the one hand, they seek to construct an objective knowledge of the human sphere, on the other hand, they wish to use this knowledge to bring radical improvements to the human world. These two ambitions were systematically taken as complementary and compatible: the knowledge of man and society had to be the means; the transformation of man and society was the end. This is a basic assumption of the social sciences, and is responsible for most of the hopes that we invested in them. Taking as example four “big theories”, this article aims to analyze the assumptions and implications of this dual quest of the social sciences.

Keywords: Anthropology of the sciences, social science theories, western cosmologies, secular soteriologies.

Labiadh Ines

Rural Development: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Application to a Region of South-East Tunisia (Le développement rural : une approche interdisciplinaire. Application à une région du sud-est tunisien) (p. 157–182)


Starting with the affirmation that interdisciplinarity is useful for the treatment of complex issues facing researchers today, the objective of this paper is to show that there exists knowledges or disciplines that are fundamentally interdisciplinary. Based on the preliminary results of our research in South Eastern Tunisia, we see that rural development, in terms of approaches to the improvement of troubled areas, is a natural an interdisciplinary process.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary, systems approach, rural development, South Eastern Tunisia.

Louise Belzile, Yves Couturier, and Dominique Lorrain

Interdisciplinarity in the Inter-Epistemological. The Case of Interdisciplinary Graduate Training in Gerontology (De l’interdisciplinarité à l’inter-épistémê. Le cas d’une formation interdisciplinaire de troisième cycle en gérontologie) (p. 183–197)


This article focuses on the representation among the first class of graduates from a doctoral program in gerontology with respect to the interdisciplinary component within their curriculum. This component is presented as a source of personal and professional enrichment for students, and is essential to the deep understanding of complex phenomena that emerge in the aging process, and to the formation of a gerontological perspective. The fundamental condition for this favourable effect appears to be the establishment – in the context of seminars – of an inter-epistemological educational space that managed to extend itself to other areas of learning.

Keywords: Education, epistemology, gerontology, interdisciplinarity, university education.