The term interdiscipline or inter-discipline means an organizational unit that involves two or more academic disciplines, but which have the formal criteria of disciplines such as dedicated research journals, conferences and university departments. It is related to interdisciplinarity, but it is a noun used for a certain kind of unit (academic discipline). As shown in the example of demography below a field may be both a discipline and an interdiscipline at the same time. The example of Information science demonstrates that a field may be regarded as a discipline in some countries but an interdiscipline in other countries.
Tengström (1993) emphases that cross-disciplinary research is a process, not a state or structure. He differentiates three levels of ambition regarding cross-disciplinary research:
- The pluridisciplinary or multidisciplinarity level
- The genuine cross-disciplinary level: interdisciplinarity
- The discipline-forming level transdisciplinarity
What is described here is a view of social fields as dynamic and changing. Library and information science is viewed as a field that started as a multidisciplinary approach based on literature, psychology, sociology, management, computer science etc., which is developing towards an academic discipline in its own right.
- "As a field with its own body of interrelated concepts, techniques, journals, and professional associations, demography is clearly a discipline. But by the nature of its subject matter and methods demography is just as clearly an 'interdiscipline', drawing heavily on biology and sociology for the study of fertility; on economics and geography for studies of migration; and on the health sciences for the study of mortality." (Stycos, 1989, vii).
- In America information science and communication studies are considered two academic disciplines. In France, however, they are considered one interdiscipline. (See also).
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- Tengström, E. (1993). "Biblioteks- och informationsvetenskapen - ett fler- eller tvärvetenskapligt område?". Svensk Biblioteksforskning (1): 9–20.
- Augustyn, P. (2008). "Biosemiotics: Protoscience, interdiscipline, new biology". Semiotica. 172 (1–4): 479–487. doi:10.1515/SEMI.2008.107.
- Stycos, J Mayone, ed. (1989). Demography as an interdiscipline. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transactions Publishers.
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- Frickel, S. (2004). "Building an interdiscipline: Collective action framing and the rise of genetic toxicology". Social Problems. 51 (2): 269–287. doi:10.1525/sp.2004.51.2.269.
- Zabalbeascoa, P. (2005). "Humor and translation – an interdiscipline" (PDF). Humor: International Journal of Humor Research. 18 (2): 185–207. doi:10.1515/humr.2005.18.2.185.
- Newell, A. (1983). "Reflections on the structure of an interdiscipline". In Machlup, F. & U. Mansfield. The study of information: Interdisciplinary messages. NY: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 99–110.
- Von Lengerke, T. (2006). "Public health is an interdiscipline, and about wholes and parts – Indeed, critical health psychology needs to join forces". Journal of Health Psychology. 11 (3): 395–399. PMID 16774893. doi:10.1177/1359105306063311.
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