Transdisciplinarity 跨学科研究

Transdisciplinarity 跨学科研究

By Tara Brabazon 塔拉·布拉巴赞著
Office of Graduate Research 研究生院
Flinders University 弗林德斯大学
Adelaide, South Australia 南澳大利亚阿德莱德

Tara probes the specific, specialist, considered and careful definitions and applications of transdisciplinarity. To solve wicked problems, transdisciplinarity is a powerful engine for knowledge.
塔拉探讨跨学科的具体、专业、经过深思熟虑的定义和应用。为了解决“棘手问题”(wicked problems),跨学科研究是为知识准备的强大引擎。

Hello. My name is Tara Brabazon, and I’m the Dean of Graduate Research at Flinders University. And welcome to Vlog 158, “Transdisciplinarity”.
大家好。我是来自南澳大利亚州阿德莱德弗林德斯大学的研究生院院长塔拉·布拉巴赞(Tara Brabazon)。欢迎观看第158部微视频:“跨学科研究”。

Transdisciplinarity is a way of configuring research, a way of thinking, a way of doing a research project that starts not with methods, not with the literature review, but with the problem.

It starts with the problem, and then it asks: What disciplinary methods, theories, concepts and tropes are going to be required to answer that problem? So it’s an implementation strategy to solve major problems.
它从问题着手,然后问:要回答这个问题,将需要用到哪些学科方法、理论、概念和主题? 因此,这是一种能解决大问题的措施。

Transdisciplinarity is particularly appropriate when considering a really big project – for example, when considering the relationship between science and society, the social sciences and society, or the humanities and society.

At its most basic, transdisciplinarity crosses disciplinary boundaries to enable a more expansive and complete answer to a social problem.

Transdisciplinarity has three main meanings, and these meanings sort of overlap, but they have different origins. So, when someone says “transdisciplinarity” you might need to ask them what they mean by that, because these three definitions have different national and disciplinary origins, and inflect the research process in different ways.

The first definition is: transdisciplinarity is a research method to solve problems which require the crossing of disciplinary boundaries. Bioinformatics is a great example. Bioinformatics takes information systems and sees how they can be applied to biomedical science. This particular method of transdisciplinarity first emerged in Germany, so it is nested very strongly in the empirical sciences.

However, problems relating to climate change and sustainability can also be solved well by this type of transdisciplinary approach. Climate change requires an array of the sciences to solve its problems, but also the social sciences, and probably education and information literacy theory too.

The main definition that comes from the Anglophone world is: transdisciplinarity is when concepts or methods move from one discipline to another. For example, ethnography was used in anthropology, but it moved to also have resonance in sociology, as well as allied health professions such as socio-legal studies and criminology.

The third definition I find really interesting and powerful, and I think this is the one to watch. This version of transdisciplinarity is incredibly important to indigenous research, and disability research, and has also been incredibly well actioned in prison populations.

This kind of model is called transdisciplinary collaboration. It asks the relevant stakeholders to be involved right at the start of the research project in defining the problems to be solved. Usually when academics use the word stakeholder, they have completed their research, and now they are disseminating it to stakeholders. But with transdisciplinary collaboration, the researchers say right at the start of the research that the aim of the collaboration is actually to work out the frame of discussion.
这种模式称为“跨学科合作”(transdisciplinary collaboration)。 在研究项目开始时,它让利益相关者界定要解决的问题。通常,当学者使用“利益相关者”一词时,他们已经完成了研究,现在将其传播给利益相关者。但是,对于跨学科合作,研究人员在研究之初就说,合作的目的实际上是制定讨论框架。

You’ll also see that applied research is frequently transdisciplinary. If you hear academics use the phrase “wicked problem”, they’re probably require transdisciplinary approaches to answer it, as it refers to a problem that requires knowledge too big for a single person to know. When dealing with problems like those, we can make use of transdisciplinarity to try and solve at least a part of it.
你也会看到,应用研究经常具有其跨学科性。如果你听到学者使用“棘手问题”(wicked problem)这个词,那么他们可能需要跨学科方法才能回答这种问题,因为能决这种问题的知识面太大,单一的个人难以完全掌握。处理此类问题时,我们可以利用跨学科研究来至少解决它的一部分。

I like transdisciplinarity is because it is an ordered movement over disciplinary borders. It is different from interdisciplinarity, which can be a bit chaotic: here’s this thing, here’s that thing, boom, put it together, and something amazing is created. By contrast, transdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity are much more ordered ways of knowing. And there is a reason for that.

The word transdisciplinarity emerged in 1970 at the University of Nice from a seminar on interdisciplinarity. So, interdisciplinarity actually came first. The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget created the term. He argued that we needed a much more organised way of thinking about movement between ideas, that interdisciplinarity was not giving the clarity and order that is required to create systematic knowledge. So he wanted a system of knowing beyond the individual disciplines.
跨学科这个词是1970年在尼斯大学的一次科际整合研讨会上出现的。因此可见,科际整合其实比跨学科概念出现得早。瑞士心理学家让·皮亚杰(Jean Piaget)创造了这个词。他认为,我们需要一种更加有组织的思维方式来思考思想之间的运动,那就是说,科际整合不能提供创建系统性知识所需的清晰和顺序。因此,他想要一个超越各个学科的知识体系。

As this work was happening in Europe, in the United States, Jack Lee Mahan was having similar thoughts, and started to express his own mode of transdisciplinarity. His focus was on setting the frame or point of reference of the research. For him, it was about exposing disciplinary boundaries, and thinking about more complete ways of knowing.
当这项工作在欧洲进行时,在美国,杰克·李·马汉(Jack Lee Mahan)也有类似的想法,并开始表达自己的跨学科模式。他的重点是确定研究的框架或参考点。对他来说,关键在于,揭露学科界限,并思考更完整的认识方式。

So, as you can see, transdisciplinarity is logical and rational. It is not chaotic; it is planned, and it is meaningful. With its intense interaction between academics and practitioners, transdisciplinarity aims to achieve what it calls a “unity of knowledge”.
因此,如你所见,跨学科研究是具有逻辑和理性的。它不是混乱的;它是有计划的,而且很有意义。跨学科研究以通过学者与实践者之间的密切互动来实现通常称为“知识统一”(unity of knowledge)的目标。

For all my students in the allied health professions, transdisciplinarity is really your seam to mine. It’s pragmatic, and it’s problem-solving. And the wonderful field of nanotechnology is seen to be the archetype of transdisciplinarity because it changed our understanding of matter, energy and information. And it was also a critique of the hyper-specialization of the sciences.

But transdisciplinarity also aims for integration. We are not creating a grand or singular theory here. Transdisciplinarity is not evangelical. It is not like: there’s only one way, and it’s my way. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s an integrated approach to solving that offers, through practice, reflection on the boundaries of disciplines.

Transdisciplinarity is like a plug-and-play strategy. For example, you have a mobile phone. You might plug it in in the car, then you plug it in at work, then you plug it in at the gym. It’s the same phone, but you’re plugging it in at different locations, and that same phone has different functionality and purposes in each of these locations.

That’s transdisciplinarity at its most basic: the movement of methods. For example, participant observation is a method moved from sociology into library and information studies, or museum studies.
这就是给跨学科研究最基本的定义:跨学科研究就是一种方法的转移。例如,“参与观察”(participant observation)这个方法,它从社会学转向图书馆和信息研究,或博物馆研究。

Oral history methods can also be described as transdisciplinary when they are removed from the field of history and applied in speech pathology. One of my favourite theses ever produced at Flinders University used oral history methodologies to write a history of nurses in the Royal Flying Doctors Service.
口述历史方法从历史领域中转向到言语病理学时,也可以被描述为跨学科研究。我最喜欢的论文之一,就是在弗林德斯大学上发表的一篇论文,它采取了口述历史方法论来为皇家飞行医生服务所(Royal Flying Doctors Service)的护士撰写历史。

The problems best solved through transdisciplinary methods are what are often called translational problems. So you’ve got an issue – for example, a social justice problem – that is big and complex, and one discipline is never going to answer it.
通过跨学科方法得到最佳解决的问题,经常是那些被称之为“转化问题”(translational problems)。例如,你遇到了一个很大而复杂的问题——例如,社会正义问题——而一个单独的学科几乎无法给出回答。

Transdisciplinary also has conceptual rigour as it demands that you reflect on how methods change when moving between disciplines. For example, methods in ethnography change when you apply them to sociology, and then change again when move them to criminology.

Transdisciplinarity at its best is a unifying mode of thinking. As the boundaries between disciplines are transcended, a new way of knowing and integrating knowledge is created.

Transdisciplinarity is also transgressive. It emerges when a philosophy, concept, hypothesis or problem is applied to other fields, thereby creating more complex and interesting ways of thinking about methods, strategies, theories and concepts.

So, if you have a “wicked problem”, then transdisciplinarity is the way that you solve it.

Content adapted for educational purposes from an excellent vlog by Tara Brabazon, the Dean of Graduate Research and the Professor of Cultural Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, posted on YouTube on 30 March, 2019. See the video here.

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