chapter 14 - 14 Concluding Remarks The final step in the...

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14 Concluding Remarks The final step in the interdisciplinary process involves communicating to multiple audiences the insights obtained through interdisciplinary analysis. If this step is not performed successfully, all previous steps will have been wasted. And this step requires a quite different skill set from most of the previous ones. The preceding analysis has largely proceeded through calm, careful, and introverted analysis; the last step requires a bit of flare and an extroverted disposition. One of the sad facts of academic life is that some who excel at analysis are miserable at communica- tion, and their insights thus receive less attention than they deserve. Others are natural communicators. Interdisciplinarians, whatever their psychological profile, likely have to be more self-conscious about communication than disciplinarians: the latter can simply absorb their disciplinary perspective subconsciously and con- tinue to do what seems to have worked for them in the past, while the former must think about how to speak to the language and interests of distinct audiences. Often, different modes of communication are necessary for different audiences. The author of this book has in the past published across some dozen disciplines or interdisciplinary fields. He has also written pieces for a variety of more popular publications. In general, books are more likely than articles to be aimed at, and hopefully reach, multiple audiences. This book has been largely jargon-free, and should thus prove accessible to scholars across a wide range of disciplines as well as to those outside the academy interested in economic growth and/or interdisci- plinary analysis. A book must be not just accessible but of interest. Those interested in interdis- ciplinarity itself should be intrigued by this explicit test of a process for interdisci- plinary analysis. Economists who study economic growth should appreciate the varied insights provided by other disciplines, while those in other disciplines should value the possible connections between their research and research on the proximate causes of economic growth. The word to be stressed here is comple- mentarity . While disciplinary insights have occasionally conflicted in this book (but less often than in social science more generally), for the most part different disciplinary insights generate different emphases and thus combine to create a more nuanced understanding. More importantly, even when disciplinary insights do conflict, much that is good can generally be taken from each discipline such that a common ground can be constructed which integrates these elements. Inter- disciplinarity should not be viewed as a threat to disciplinary research. Rather it identifies both weaknesses and possibilities with respect to existing research pro- grams, and thus facilitates the pursuit of research questions that are of interest be- yond the confines of any one discipline. The book had two goals. One was to show how pursuing a process of interdis-
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chapter 14 - 14 Concluding Remarks The final step in the...

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