Numerous transdisciplinary research initiatives underway today are proceeding with only limited understanding of the ways in which the intellectually diverse groups central to such efforts work together. The concept of trading zones offers an alternate yet complementary look at cross-disciplinary collaborations and in particular offers a more thorough treatment of the communication and coordination challenges implicit in such initiatives. More specifically, this paper proposes boundary objects, interactional expertise, and interlanguage as means to overcome epistemic and communication barriers in transdisciplinary groups. This analysis focuses on the development of collective understanding and language in intellectually diverse groups and theorizes a transdisciplinary trading zone as a means to understand better cross-disciplinary approaches to addressing complex social, economic or environmental challenges. Taken together, the concepts of transdisciplinarity and trading zones offer a more complete understanding of heterogeneous group dynamics and the evolution of shared meaning and creation of integrated knowledge.
|Keywords:||Knowledge, Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinary, Trading Zones, Interactional Expertise, Boundary Objects, Collaboration|
Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA