Journal Article — Interdisciplinary Studies and Scholarship: Issues, Challenges, and Implications for “Third World” Development and Social Change — by Samuel Zalanga




The world has always been confronted with complex problems that defy simple solutions via monistic disciplinary approach. This challenge has become highly pronounced from the last quarter of the twentieth century to date under the regime of neoliberal globalization. This article briefly addresses the theme of interdisciplinary studies as an important solution to complex problems that defy monistic disciplinary solutions. It defines interdisciplinary studies and differentiates it from multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. It highlights the different approaches to interdisciplinary studies and the social characteristics of people who are best able to engage in interdisciplinary scholarship. The article concludes by applying the concept of interdisciplinary studies to the specific area of development studies and social change in developing countries by evaluating the dominant approach to development in “Third World” countries. It maintains that reducing development to a purely economic phenomenon leads to economic growth without development or progressive social transformation. It affirms that “Third World” development needs to be treated as an interdisciplinary project in order to approach development in a holistic manner. This entails transforming the organizational culture of universities, their reward system, and the social and behavioral orientations of persons that work as scholars within the universities.

Recommended Citation

Zalanga, Samuel. 2009. “Interdisciplinary Studies and Scholarship: Issues, Challenges, and Implications for “Third World” Development and Social Change.” Pp. 57-76 in Sociological Re-Imaginations in & of Universities (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume VII, Issue 3, 2009.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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