Bridging the Divide: Tensions Between the Biophysical and Social Sciences in An Interdisciplinary Sustainability Science Project

Susan K. Gardner


Interdisciplinary research has gained tremendous popularity in higher education over the past several decades and funding for such efforts through federal agencies has underscored its relevance. In sustainability science, in particular, interdisciplinarity is seen as integral to the research endeavor. However, a paucity of empirical evidence exists regarding the process of interdisciplinary endeavors, particularly those that cross the social-biophysical science divide. The current study incorporated insights over a four-year period from 25 faculty members involved in a large, interdisciplinary effort at one institution of higher education in the United States. Issues of disciplinary status, power, and hierarchy were prevalent in their accounts. Recommendations for policy and practice are included.

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Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)

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