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The (im)possibility of interdisciplinarity: lessons from constructing a theoretical framework for digital ecosystems

Dini, Paolo, Iqani, Mehita and Mansell, Robin ORCID: 0000-0003-3950-3468 (2011) The (im)possibility of interdisciplinarity: lessons from constructing a theoretical framework for digital ecosystems. Culture, Theory and Critique, 52 (1). pp. 3-27. ISSN 1473-5784

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14735784.2011.621668


This paper reflects critically on challenges and opportunities associated with developing a theoretical framework for an interdisciplinary Framework Programme 7 research project funded by the European Commission in the area of digital ecosystems. The paper first provides a description of the interdisciplinary structure of the research agenda of the project and the areas of digital ecosystem research prioritised by each discipline. Second, it discusses the challenging questions of epistemology that arose in the context of theorising interdisciplinary research and provides a summary of how these were dealt with in order to outline a theoretical framework for digital ecosystems research by the end of the project. Finally, it discusses the lessons that can be extrapolated from the project experience, arguing that it is impossible to develop a unified interdisciplinary theoretical framework due to irreconcilable epistemological differences, yet it is possible and very worthwhile for those adhering to various disciplinary perspectives to collaborate towards the achievement of a practical joint endeavour. These lessons, which are considered valuable to the broader research community, are summarised in a model of the (im)possibility of interdisciplinarity.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The authors
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2010 09:19
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:51

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