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Elena Khlinovskaya Rockhill

The six UK Genetics Knowledge Parks (GKPs) were shaped and governed by two frameworks: a 'need' to harness 'new genetics' and the relations of accountability as seen in the context of entrepreneurial government. The remit of the Cambridge GKP (CGKP) was to develop public health genetics by building on the concepts of partnership and interdisciplinarity. In the course of its work, the CGKP emphasized the virtues of 'change management', seen as distinct from, and opposed to, an academic model of knowledge production. However, the model that the CGKP actually created was a research/management hybrid that resisted quality assurance checks developed for each model (research and management), presenting a formidable challenge for the evaluation and assessment of the CGKP's work.

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Interdisciplinary Concepts and their Political Significance

Ernst Müller

This essay introduces a panel of four studies of concepts: survival, generation, mutation, and reflex; concepts which circulate among different disciplines. The introduction addresses the problems of disciplinary lexica of conceptual history which have been completed in Germany in recent years; at the same time it questions the boundaries between political-social language (as represented by the Cambridge school in the English-speaking world and by Koselleck in the German) and concepts in natural sciences. The methodological problems examined in the process include issues of knowledge and discipline and interdisciplinarity, as well as of metaphorology and translation, and investigates their relation to the logic of the political.

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Regina F. Bendix

and also personal passions ( Bendix 2008 ). The heat of disciplinary specialisation can also burn up or scald what flexibility inquiring minds may have for interdisciplinary engagement – and yet interdisciplinarity is not just a slogan term among

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Mobility as homelessness

The uprooted lives of early career researchers

Corina Balaban

This article discusses three kinds of mobility among early stage researchers: geographical mobility, mobility between disciplines – or interdisciplinarity – and cross-sectoral mobility. It focuses on how PhD fellows engage with and negotiate experiences of mobility. These types of mobility have largely been presented as inherently beneficial in mainstream policy discourse, but this article presents a more nuanced picture of mobility, showing the challenges of mobility, as experienced and articulated by PhD fellows and some of their supervisors. The research is based on twenty-six interviews with PhD fellows and principal investigators involved in two types of flagship doctoral programmes: the ITN in Europe, and the IGERT in the United States. The main finding is that PhD fellows associated all three types of mobility with feelings of homelessness.

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Discipline and Publish?

Transfers as Interdisciplinary Site

Cotten Seiler

of disciplinary vocabularies in formulating the questions that most needed asking. Looking back on ten years of Transfers , it strikes me that the journal is on its way to fulfilling its interdisciplinarity promise. This is not to say the essays

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The Past as a Foreign Country

Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Pinker’s “Prehistoric Anarchy”

Linda Fibiger

borrowing from, appropriating, and ultimately “colonizing” related disciplines, or indeed the distant past, should avoid postcolonial attitudes. Like the attempt to understand the meaning and motivations behind past human actions, true interdisciplinarity

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Roberto Farneti

integrate the ways and mores that structure empirical research. Democracy and Interdisciplinarity Group psychology, for one thing, offers interesting inputs into the effects of polarization, albeit on a different scale. But the case of group psychology shows

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Borders and justice

A postscript

Mary Bosworth


In this piece I offer an overview of the theme section and reflect on the relationship between academic studies and social justice. By comparing anthropology with my home discipline of criminology, I point to some shared and distinct contributions practitioners in these fields can make to our understanding about border control. Without being too pessimistic, I warn about the limits of ‘humanizing’ research subjects as a means to bring about progressive change, and suggest instead, drawing on the work of the theme section, that more needs to be done alongside and with individuals and local communities.

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Migration Studies in Bulgaria

Scope, Experiences and Developments

Magdalena Elchinova

The article overviews the current state of migration studies in Bulgaria. It is argued that their deficiencies stem from the fact that they are nationally embedded, contingent on ongoing public and political discourses, almost exclusively limited to the sociological, psychological and cultural dimensions of migration, and largely operating with the concepts of community, ethnicity and identity, despite the increasing share of ethnographic descriptions of good quality in the field. The further development of migration studies in Bulgaria will depend on the elaboration of a more complex and systematic analytical framework. A shift from community and ethnicity to gender, kinship, social networks and other explanatory categories is needed. It is also necessary to see the variety of forms of commonality and interaction between migrants in order to see migration as a dynamic phenomenon. Finally, it is crucial to develop an interdisciplinary theoretical framework that would best fit the complex nature of migration.

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On the Usefulness of Boundary Re-work

Francisco Martínez


Boundaries influence how we live, the way we do and see things – but how? What role do boundaries play in effecting disciplinary shifts or stability in turn? And who is excluded when tracing epistemic frontiers and hard notions of relevance? This theme issue discusses the porosity of anthropology's borders and the difficulty of establishing scholarly authority. We set out to reopen the conversation about the permeability of academic boundaries, exploring different conceptual, methodological and historical reconfigurations with and within European anthropologies. We also discuss how the epistemic and institutional boundaries of our discipline are changing, affecting in turn what people can know and with whom, as well as our sense of professional strength and vulnerability.