Interdisciplinarity and Neoliberalism

Is interdisciplinarity a neoliberal plot? Are interdisciplinarians simply neoliberal tools? There’s a danger of that happening (for that matter, there are instances that we can point to that qualify already). By bypassing disciplinary standards for quality, or even acceptable theoretical work there is the danger that standards will simply flip to the other side.

But let’s avoid simplistic answers. Let’s seek out a middle space between disciplinary and extra-disciplinary standards for evaluating research. Frame it as a dialectic between autonomy and accountability: the majority of researchers, scientific and humanistic are employed by the state; it makes sense that they acknowledge this connection in their work. But in saying that researchers should frame their work with an eye toward the interests of extra-disciplinary audiences is not the same as claiming that they should give state senators the kind of answers that they are looking for. That’s sophistry, not philosophy.

Still, I admit that appeals to ‘curiosity driven research’ set my teeth on edge. It sounds like indulgence to me. Do that on your own time.

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