The joys and challenges of working across disciplinary boundaries

Working with scholars from other disciplines can be a challenge.  The people you meet speak the same language, but the words they use sometimes mean different things. It takes time to learn the vocabulary, even though you know the words. Like the song: I’m an alien. I’m a legal alien: I’m an Englishman in New York.

Curiously, as a quantitative empirical sociologist attending academic research conferences in economics or psychology, I often feel like an amateur anthropologist. I observe customs with which I am unfamiliar, and try to blend in, participating in rituals and ceremonial celebrations of heroes unknown.

A common purpose binds us: the curiosity of a phenomenon unexplained, an intriguing puzzle, unsolved. Or the objective to get an article published in a journal that – before recent discoveries – was largely uncharted territory. Yes, there were dragons. But the joy of having slayed Reviewer 2!

 

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Filed under economics, psychology, sociology

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