19-20 JAN 2017 | International Conference “Interdisciplinary Futures –*Open the SocialSciences…* 20 Years Later”

19-20 January 2017, Lisbon, Portugal


This is a conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of a small book published in 1996, Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. This Report by the multidisciplinary Gulbenkian Commission, led by Immanuel Wallerstein, analysed the situation in the social sciences, its origins, and possible futures, making recommendations for improvement largely based on ideals of interdisciplinarity. These ideals have gained ground more broadly since then in the academia. It is now an opportune time to revisit the themes and suggestions of the Report. What is the situation today? How does – and should – interdisciplinarity shape the future of the social sciences?

The conference will focus on three partly overlapping themes related to the Report of the Gulbenkian Commission:

  1. The Report itself, its background, its context, its diagnoses, its messages, its arguments, its recommendations — both historically and analytically considered.
  2. The issue of how to update the Report, based on what has changed since 1996 regarding the themes and claims and arguments in the Report, asking how the report would look like if written today. How has the situation changed? What are the urgent issues of interdisciplinarity today?
  3. Independently of the Report itself, present developments and future scenarios in the social sciences, examining current trends plus anticipating and designing the future of the social sciences from the point of view of interdisciplinarity, including the mutual relations amongst the social sciences as well as their relations to other disciplines (such as neuroscience, evolutionary biology, ecology, physics, computer science, and others), to methodological developments (eg computational and experimental techniques), to developments in the institutions and organisations of research and higher education, and to various non-academic partners and pressures.

These issues will be approached from a variety of perspectives, from those of history and philosophy of science to the various disciplinary perspectives applied to the study of science, science policy and higher education (those from economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, management, education, communication studies, bibliometrics, etc). Mixing such perspectives will yield a rich and comprehensive picture of the future of interdisciplinarity in social science.

Organised by INTREPID and TINT with support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation 

Conference Organizers: Uskali Mäki, Olivia Bina, Marta Varanda.

Keynote speakers
Immanuel Wallerstein: “Forty Years Later: Are the Social Sciences More Open?”
Björn Wittrock: “Social Sciences in Their Contexts: Five Transformative Periods”
Felicity Callard: “The Social Sciences, Life Sciences And Humanities: Shifting Plate Tectonics”
Stephen Turner: “Digitalization and Disciplinarity: What Does “Open Science” Mean for Social Science?”

More information here.

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