Worldviews, Science and Us: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Worlds, Cultures and Society.

TitleAn atlas for the social world: what should it (not) look like? Interdisciplinarity and pluralism in the social sciences
Publication TypeBook Chapter (with title)
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsVan Bouwel, J
Secondary AuthorsAerts, D, D'Hooghe, B, Pinxten, R, Wallerstein, I
Book TitleWorldviews, Science and Us: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Worlds, Cultures and Society.
SeriesWorldviews, science and us : interdisciplinary perspectives on worlds, cultures and society
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Company
ISBN Number9789814355056

Starting from the analogy between theories and maps, I will spell out which interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences can provide us with the atlas we need to navigate in the social world. After comparing the features of theories and maps in section 1, I elaborate how different social theories can collaborate or get into a dialogue in section 2, summarizing the different strategies that have been defended for interdisciplinarity in social science: theory-, method-, metaphysics-, and question-driven interdisciplinarity, which I will illustrate with actual proposals made by, inter alia, World-Systems Analysis, Critical Realism and Economics Imperialism. Building on the framework of explanatory pluralism I have been developing before, I will make a case for question-driven interdisciplinarity in section 3. My argument for question-driven interdisciplinarity will be illustrated in section 4 by discussing recent developments in economics (i.e., the debate between the orthodoxy and heterodox theories, the pleas for pluralism, and the impact of globalisation –and related institutional developments- on economics as a discipline). In conclusion, the contours of an adequate atlas for the social world should become clearer; when to use the different maps, how to activate the dialogue between social scientific disciplines in order to draw the different maps, and the risks of globalisation for social science (and adequate map making).

Citation KeyVanBouwel2011