NETWORKS AND DISCIPLINARY BOUNDARIES

Lynne Kiesling

While I’m over at Crooked Timber, Eszter Hargittai recently had an interesting post on disciplinary boundaries and some of the difficulties of doing interdisciplinary work. Henry Farrell follows up with, among other things, a very insightful extended quote from Susanne Lohmann and from a follow-on post from physicist Cosma Shalizi. See also MeshForum for more networking on social networks.

I think universities are not very good at providing incentives and evaluation to make good interdisciplinary work happen, for many of the reasons that Lohmann cites. This is too bad, because I think interdisciplinary boundaries are where a lot of the most fruitful ideas are currently found.

FREAKONOMICS SEMINAR AT CROOKED TIMBER

Lynne Kiesling

On Monday Crooked Timber hosted a seminar with Steven Levitt on Freakonomics, all of which made for an interesting read. Kieran Healy, John Quiggin, Henry Farrell, Tyler Cowen, and Tim Harford discussing various aspects of Freakonomics specifically and Levitt’s work more generally.

My favorite quote, from Levitt’s reponse:

I just canít get away from the idea that people are active decision makers trying to get what they want in a reasonably sophisticated fashion.

Even the KP Spouse, who usually waits until I buy economics books to read them, came home the other day and announced that he wanted to read Freakonomics.