Introduction: Being interdisciplinary

Zeena Feldman (City University London)
Download the full introduction here (PDF).

This issue of Cultural Policy, Criticism and Management Research brings together work from the domains of cultural criticism and policymaking. Collectively, the articles trace matters of social, political and aesthetic sensitivity:

  • Louisa Avgita investigates interplays between the universal and particular in the performance art of Marina Abramović, and locates how the concept of the Balkans is produced and depoliticised therein.
  • In a discussion of late twentieth century feminist print collectives, Jess Baines reflects on links between communication technology and projects of emancipation and empowerment. Through two case studies, Baines provides a local history of critical media practice.
  • Focusing on cultural policy in Scotland and Finland, Tara Byrne explores how the economic discourse of the creative city operationalises culture to disrupt and reformat cultural policymaking practices.
  • Robert Luzar draws on his own fine art practice and the works of Bergson, Deleuze, and others to analyse the relationship between time, corporeality, presence, and movement in this exploration of virtual experience.

Taken together, these articles speak to the challenges of interdisciplinarity. Such challenges are, in part, grounded in matters of methodology, seen here in each author’s negotiation of the relationship between theory and practice. Indeed, this volume can be read as a dialogue between the two—between epistemology and ontology, knowing and doing.

The challenge of interdisciplinarity also extends to, and is a reflection of, the cross-border intellectual homes to which the contributions are indebted. Such disciplinary traversal is a positive challenge. It is a call-to-action which enables more holistic treatment of the complexities of contemporary social and cultural practice, and serves to undermine ‘the compartmentalisation of scientific and professional knowledge [and] the sectoral division of responsibilities in contemporary society’ by prioritising research that rejects fragmentation and honours ‘local contexts and uncertainty’ (Lawrence & Després 2004: 398, 399).

As a result, this volume offers pluralistic approaches to knowledge production and a critical gaze toward boundary formation, together with a prompt to (re)consider the pragmatic utility of the disciplinary borders in question.
The works contained herein grapple with myriad traditions of evidence and terrains of expertise – sometimes in complicity, sometimes in opposition, always in curiosity. It is in that spirit of curiosity that this issue of Cultural Policy, Criticism and Management Research proceeds.

Zeena Feldman

Lawrence, R. J. and Després, C. (2004) ‘Futures of transdisciplinarity’, Futures 36(4): 397-405.

© 2012


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