from Sustainability: a cross-disciplinary concept for social transformations by E. Becker, T. Jahn, I. Stiess, P. Wehling
(Institute for Social-Ecological Research). Report
of thefirst phase of the MOST-Project: Development Paradigms and Policies
on the results Sustainable
often biased towards scientific) discipline is
enthroned as key discipline while others are instrumentalized for certain well-defined questions. This model hardly seems the multi-layered complexity of sustainability issues (_ .).
as auxiliary disciplines suitable for the study of
In order to strucutre the debate about cross disciplinary cooperation, the following section disctinguishes three basic models. All of them are appropriate for cross disciplinary research (. .). However, different implications emerge from these models
of cooperation (. .).
The first model can be referred to as “‘goal-oriented multi-disciplinarity”.
This type of
research examines the possibilities of achieving a given objective, for instance a
in car exhaust fumes, with the help of various disciplines.
speaking, the objectives here are specified and fixed in advance by policy makers; the individual disciplines can adhere almost entirely to their traditional methods, theories
and approaches. Within the framework of towards interaction between disciplines.
such research there is only a small impetus
refers to the level of often involves only a stick with the trafIic economic, legal and
results. It is usually done via the policy makers, as clients, and
mere adding together of results from the different disciplines. To
taking the technical behaviour-oriented
options as the point of departure, measures are put forward without
explicit consideration contradictory effects.
of the interaction
of such options
(. .) One of the major limitations of this model lies in the fact that, whether implicitly
or explicitly, it works with certain notions various disciplines: economics is usually psychology, technology more important than
of the importance and assumed to be more p o l i t i c s , e t c . ( _ . ) .
ranking of the important than
A second form “problem-oriented
of cross-disciplinary interdisciplinarity”.
cooperation can be addressed in terms of Here too, socially relevant problems or
solutions are at the center of proceedings; the definition of problems, however, is tied
more closely to a scientists involved.
process of In this way,
negotiation the different
actors and the
common description certain aspects of the
of the whole
on a relatively
they then proceed to independent basis and,
process for the
most part, using their however, are viewed in
customary the context
disciplinary theories of results from other
and methods. The result, disciplines, thus becoming
subject to relativization and place, albeit on the level of
modification. Thus findings rather than