2013 volume 45(12) pages 2817 – 2824

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Szerszynski B, Galarraga M, 2013, "Geoengineering knowledge: interdisciplinarity and the shaping of climate engineering research" Environment and Planning A 45(12) 2817 – 2824

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Geoengineering knowledge: interdisciplinarity and the shaping of climate engineering research

Bronislaw Szerszynski, Maialen Galarraga

Abstract. In this paper we highlight the need to attend to the structuring power of knowledge production in geoengineering research, because of the way that problem definitions are shaped by disciplinary ways of thinking and describing the world. We also draw attention to a number of problematic assumptions about how interdisciplinary research should be approached and organised in this area. We first look at the logic of ‘subordination’, in which certain disciplines are given the task of problem definition and others—typically the social sciences—are allocated the task of filling in gaps within that given frame. We then examine the more fundamental ‘integrative imaginary’ which, we argue, mistakenly assumes that disciplines can be combined in a straightforward way to reveal different aspects of the same underlying world. We conclude by proposing a more reflexive imaginary for interdisciplinarity, one that challenges the idea of integration and subordination, that promotes and benefits from the multiplicity and heterogeneity of ways of seeing that different disciplines offer, and that can thereby contribute to greater ‘epistemological responsibility’ in geoengineering research.
Keywords: geoengineering, climate, integrated assessment, transparency, interdisciplinarity, knowledge, science, reflexivity

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