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Effects of interdisciplinarity on disciplines: a study of nanomedicine in France and California

Abstract : The rise of interdisciplinarity in the sciences raises many questions about the future of the disciplines as such. To what degree will they remain the main units for differentiating between the sciences? Are disciplines destined to disappear or rather to combine in new ways in response to scientific dynamics and political pressures in favor of interdisciplinarity? The article studies the effects of interdisciplinary cooperation on disciplinary territories and boundaries. Rather than emphasizing the cognitive dimensions of disciplines, an approach frequently applied in the sociology of science, I focus on their social dimensions; specifically, the extent to which interdisciplinarity can be a resource for action and help existing disciplines consolidate their institutions. Empirical study of nanomedicine in France and California brings to light two features that work to bolster the territories of disciplines whose practitioners engage in interdisciplinarity: one, interdisciplinary practices that help to demarcate the given discipline from earlier or competing approaches; two, discipline boundary flexibility, which can work to promote discipline jurisdiction extension.
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Séverine Louvel. Effects of interdisciplinarity on disciplines: a study of nanomedicine in France and California. Revue française de sociologie, Presse de Sciences Po / Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 2015, 56 (1), pp.75-103. ⟨10.3917/rfs.561.0075⟩. ⟨halshs-01938463⟩



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