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Les Enjeux de l'interdisciplinarité dans une optique comparatiste: Le cas des études en civilisation britannique contemporaine

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https://journals.openedition.org/rfcb/2793
Translated title of the contributionInterdisciplinarity, and interdisciplinarity in a comparatist perspective, in contemporary twenty-first century British Civilisation Studies
Original languageFrench
JournalRevue Franscaise de Civilisation Britannique
Volumexxiv
Issue number1
Early online date22 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

Abstract

Unlike in France where a separation between established disciplines is often favoured, in the United Kingdom a more interdisciplinary approach has been more widely employed (Mass Observation after the Second World War, cultural studies, to cite only two examples). For a number of years now, research financing bodies have been actively encouraging transdisciplinary projects. This article seeks firstly to offer a comparative analysis of interdisciplinary approaches in Great Britain and France in order better to pinpoint the undeniable advantages of interdisciplinarity whilst nevertheless highlighting some of its more problematic aspects. I will then approach the question of interdisciplinarity in the field of British civilisation studies via discussion of concrete examples.

In reality, interdisciplinarity has always existed and the fact that British universities often present it as an objective to be realised suggest that it has been badly understood. Being a specialist of for example John Ruskin or Charles Baudelaire necessarily implied an interdisciplinary approach as each author was both a literary writer and an art critic. Nowadays interdisciplinarity and multimedia approaches are often confused with each other because of the growing importance accorded in our society to the visual image. Interdisciplinarity has become intertwined to some extent also with the commercialisation of higher education. As our educational institutions are ranked in part according to the sums of money that they succeed in attracting for their research projects, interdisciplinarity has become a stake in a logic of survival of our institutions in so far as it is favoured in relation to specialisation.

If interdisciplinarity is hence not intrinsically new, why and how can it be employed to useful effect in the human sciences, and more specifically to enrich the field of British civilisation studies? In this article we will examine this question from a number of angles with reference to my areas of specialism, and in particular the study of minoritarian and diasporic communities in a comparative perspective.

    Research areas

  • comparatism, interdisciplinarity, francophone, new critical discourses, Edouard Glissant, anglophone studies

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