Issuu on Google+

Does It Provide Answers to Current Challenges in Higher Education and Research? Edited by Tatjana Muravska, Žaneta Ozoliņa


Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences: Does It Provide Answers to Current Challenges in Higher Education and Research? Edited by Tatjana Muravska, Žaneta Ozoliņa

Contributing authors: Alexandre Berlin, Zane Cunska, Manfred J. Holler, Guna Japiņa, Sylvain Jouhette, Roswitha M. King, Juris Krūmiņš, Ilona Kunda, Iasonas Lamprianou, Kristīne Medne, Indriķis Muižnieks, Nils Muižnieks, Tatjana Muravska, Žaneta Ozoliņa, Romāns Putāns, Fernando Reis, Inna Šteinbuka, Anete Vītola, Zane Zeibote

University of Latvia Press


UDK 378.4 In 720 Contributing authors: Alexandre Berlin, Zane Cunska, Manfred J. Holler, Guna Japiņa, Sylvain Jouhee, Roswitha M. King, Juris Krūmiņš, Ilona Kunda, Iasonas Lamprianou, Kristīne Medne, Indriķis Muižnieks, Nils Muižnieks, Tatjana Muravska, Žaneta Ozoliņa, Romāns Putāns, Fernando Reis, Inna Šteinbuka, Anete Vītola, Zane Zeibote. Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences: Does it Provide Answers to Current Challenges in Higher Education and Research? Riga, University of Latvia Press, 2011, p. 232, il. Editors

Tatjana Muravska, Žaneta Ozoliņa

Reviewers

Professor Dr. habil. Rainer Arnold, Chair of Public and Comparative Law, Jean Monnet Chair ad Personam, University of Regensburg, Germany Professor Dr. habil. Kęstutis Kriščiūnas, Jean Monnet Professor, Director, Institute of Europe, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania Professor Dr. Tiiu Paas, Chair of Economic Modeling, Faculty of Economics and Management, Tartu University, Estonia Professor Dr. habil. Baiba Rivža, Full Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Latvia

The publication of this book was supported by:

EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPRESENTATION IN LATVIA

Layout Andra Liepiņa Cover design Agris Dzilna Proof reader Denīze Ponomarjova

© European Commission Representation in Latvia, 2011 © University of Latvia, 2011

ISBN 978-9984-45-433-7


Contents Acknowledgement ....................................................................................................

5

Preface .........................................................................................................................

6

Pierre Mairesse Director, European Commission, General Directorate Education and Culture

Foreword .....................................................................................................................

9

1. Educational and Demographic Trends ............................................................ 11 Sylvain Jouhee, Fernando Reis, Inna Šteinbuka Eurostat, European Commission Education and its Role in the EU 2020 Strategy: Statistical Aspect ............. 12 Zane Cunska, Juris Krūmiņš Diverse Educational and Professional Paths of Tertiary Graduates in Latvia .............................................................................................. 35 Ilona Kunda, Nils Muižnieks Resource Base for the Social Sciences and Humanities in Latvia: Sufficient for Expecting Rapid Development of the Field? ........................... 53 2. Monodisciplinarity vs Interdisciplinarity: Conflicts, Dilemmas and Potentials ................................................................. 65 Kristīne Medne, Tatjana Muravska Interdisciplinarity: Dilemmas within the Theory, Methodology and Practise ............................................................................................................ 66 Žaneta Ozoliņa, Anete Vītola Interdisciplinary Research Today – its Preconditions and Opportunities for Facilitation ............................................................................. 87 Roswitha M. King Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity in Academia ............................................. 102 Indriķis Muižnieks, Romāns Putāns Scientific Research Today – Challenges and Solutions for Latvia ................ 112


3. Interdisciplinarity in Academic and Non-academic Seings: Methods and Models .......................................................................................... 131 Alexandre Berlin Interdisciplinarity as an Increasingly Implied and Applied Concept ......... 132 Iasonas Lamprianou Interdisciplinary Research Methods in Social Sciences: Advances and Applications ................................................................................. 152 Tatjana Muravska Interdependence of Studies: European Studies as an Example of an Interdisciplinary Educational Programme .................................................. 165 Guna Japiņa Interdisciplinary Approach in the EU Policy Making Processes: in Preparation of Latvia’s Presidency of the EU Council .............................. 175 Manfred J. Holler The Two-dimensional Model of Jury Decision Making ................................. 193 Zane Zeibote Interdisciplinary Aspects of Researching Competitiveness of Business Clusters .............................................................................................. 205 Final Remarks ............................................................................................................ 224 About the Authors .................................................................................................... 226


Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences

Acknowledgement The study of interdisciplinarity “manifestations“ in education and science could not occur without support from different disciplines and experts from a diversity of scientific fields. The publication of this book is the appropriate tribute to thank the supporters of this project. First of all, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the leadership of the University of Latvia. They counted on the potential of this study to provide a shared basis to understand the new trends in EU higher education and research and to respond to the demands of a modern knowledge-based economy. Both the Vice-rector for Research Indriķis Muižnieks, and the former Vice-rector for Academic Studies Juris Krūmiņš, contributed their ideas, critique and articles and also supported formally this publication. Professors and researchers from different faculties within the University of Latvia, experts from the European Commission, including Eurostat, and from partner universities in the EU as well as young researchers have been engaged in the preparation of the publication. This publication would not have been possible without support from the European Commission Representation in Latvia; we would like furthermore to express our gratitude for offering invaluable intellectual advise to explore the interdisciplinary diversity in Latvia and European Union. The publication of this book in Latvian and English enables the promotion and popularization of this subject in Latvia and beyond. Finally, we would like to express our special gratitude to all of the contributing authors who have enriched the debate on the role of interdisciplinarity in education and science, allowing to explore the potential complications that inevitably arise when expanding the borders of ones owns’ discipline. Our special thanks are due to Kristīne Medne for her relentless enthusiasm and intellectual contributions to this project and the resulting publication.

5


Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences

Preface The very nature of interdisciplinarity, as we understand it, requires that those who engage in it will always be working beyond the edges of what they know how to do well; in conception and methodology, such work cannot become conventional.”1

Interdisciplinarity has become a very commonly heard buzz-word in the field of social studies and research. This phenomenon gives raise to a vast spectrum of aitudes, which vary from glorification to scepticism and negation. The many different and o en contradictory views on interdisciplinary education and research are the evidence that current approaches to global challenges cannot occur in the framework of one scientific discipline; scholars have to make very complicated choices. The desire to ensure one’s methodological purity and safeguarding against the possible impact of methodologies from other disciplines, can ultimately lead to isolation from outside knowledge and cooperation, and thus inhibit the promotion of one’s own ideas. At the same time, if interdisciplinarity is not critical and is based on the commonly followed methodological model, rather than critical analysis, this could result in the dissolution of the one’s own discipline and the ability of gaining knowledge objectively, thus loosing credibility. Independently of the positions taken by various representatives of the academic community, it is essential to discuss the role of interdisciplinarity in education and scientific research. In order to respond to the demands of a modern knowledge-based economy, Europe needs more highly skilled graduates. These individuals must be equipped not only with specific subject knowledge and competencies, but also with a number of generic competencies and crosscuing skills, such as

1

Dalke, A., Grobstein, P., McCormack, E. (2004), Theorizing Interdisciplinarity: The Evolution of New Academic and Intellectual Communities. Available at: hp://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/ scisoc/theorizing.html

7


8

Preface

communication, flexibility and an entrepreneurial spirit. These skills and competencies will allow graduates to succeed in today’s labour market. Education and training in our societies have the paradoxical aim of preparing students to perform very specific and complex tasks while at the same time thinking critically, participating in discussions, and working with multiple sources and great amount of different information. Today’s employers in the public and private sectors look for individuals who can identify issues, solve problems and take initiatives. As the complexity of our world increases, an ever-higher level of skills and knowledge will be needed to manage this complexity. Interdisciplinarity is a valuable tool in decision-making process and for analyzing different policy options. In the last two decades, interdisciplinary thinking has moved up on the policy agenda in the EU and international organizations such as the OECD, World Bank as well as in many advanced knowledge nations. Society, politics and economics of the 21st century can be described by key words such as interdependence and interaction of various processes, a clear indication that the problems of society are increasingly complex and interdependent. They are not isolated to particular disciplines, and they are not predictable. Reality is a nexus of interrelated phenomena, which are not reducible to a single dimension. In Latvia, just as in any EU Member State, discussion is taking place on what will be the scientific response to the Grand Challenges? This discussion is the result of increasing pressure, and suggested solutions to come from both scientists as well as politicians who are expected to provide objective and evidence-based decisions. The social sciences have become the area where the most ardent and ongoing debate occurs regarding the meaning and importance of interdisciplinarity and its role in the “Scientific Society”, as well as of “Science in Society”. In Latvia, this discussion has started relatively recently and it is mostly concentrated in a few small research groups reflected in some publications in books and journals. This book, “Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences: Does It Provide Answers to Current Challenges in Higher Education and Research?” is an important contribution to this debate, suggesting a redirection away from the fragmented nature of interdisciplinary research; it offers the views of academia, researchers and practitioners from a variety of disciplines, some coming from different generations and countries. Many hold views, which illustrate important clashes of different opinions that occur in this debate on themes such as: education and training research, demographics, health, innovation, competitiveness and the political process. Tatjana Muravska Žaneta Ozoliņa


Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences

Foreword

I am very honoured that Professor Dr. Tatjana Muravska requested me on behalf of the editors, to write the foreword to the publication on interdisciplinarity in sciences. Such a question of interdisciplinary approaches lies at the heart of our European policies in general and in the Jean Monnet programme in particular. So, what is the meaning of this concept of ‘interdisciplinarity’? For me, interdisciplinarity includes dialogue and exchange of knowledge, analysis and methods between two or more disciplines. It implies interaction between several specialists and their mutual enrichment. It is an approach which aims to understand complexity by seeking to connect different methods and bodies in order to foster a holistic approach to thinking and problemsolving. Interdisciplinarity does not involve mastering several disciplines, but opening up to a variety of scientific disciplines in order to tackle one theme from different perspectives. In our complex world, if we want to cope with the high quality requirements of the modern society, we have to abandon once for all the habit of compartmentalising. Interdisciplinarity teaches our students to think in a contextual and global way as a basis for drawing concrete conclusions. Young people will be the first to benefit from the opportunities that interdisciplinarity offers. For example, current unemployment rates do not necessarily mean that there are no vacant posts available on the labour market: in many cases it means a mismatch between offer and demand. It will be important to develop, with the support of the European Commission, partnerships between innovation, research and industries. This will allow the delivery of key competences sought by business and improve the teaching skills of university professors (and other teachers and people with education responsibilities). Finally, we can assert that the acquisition of these skills constitutes a relevant factor for strengthening the social cohesion in European societies. Several European Union countries, like Latvia, will benefit, in particular, from this kind of approach: it is a well-known phenomenon that some countries are more frequently exposed to the ‘brain-drain’ problem, which makes it particularly important to invest in the quality of teaching. The activities supported by the Jean Monnet programme clearly meet these expectations. The high-level academic reflection that the Programme provides on current issues in its conferences and seminars tackles these issues

9


10

Foreword

from an interdisciplinary angle. Furthermore, the Jean Monnet Centres of Excellence and Jean Monnet Multilateral Research Groups pool the teaching, research and documentary resources to teach the dierent facets of European integration studies, involving a joint and multidisciplinary approach. The University of Latvia has recently been awarded the ďŹ rst Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Latvia. I congratulate the University on this achievement and the initiative of this publication.

Pierre Mairesse Director, European Commission, General Directorate Education and Culture


Interdisciplinarity in Social Sciences: Does It Provide Answers to Current Challenges in Higher...?