Interdisciplinarity in Perspective: The Case of Humanitarian Studies

By Alain Guilloux.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Humanitarian studies focus on the norms, organizations, processes and outcomes of humanitarian action. As in the case of development studies, gender studies or environment studies, scholars often claim that interdisciplinary approaches are best suited to the study of the field. The claim is discussed in this paper. Building on Foucault’s work on discipline and knowledge, the dimensions of interdisciplinarity are highlighted and summarized. Humanitarian studies are then introduced and mapped along these dimensions. Some of the issues and difficulties that arise with regard to interdisciplinarity in humanitarian studies are explored. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the paper acknowledges the value and potential of interdisciplinary research and training in humanitarian studies.

Keywords: Humanitarian, Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Transdisciplinary

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp.67-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.141MB).

Dr. Alain Guilloux

University of Hong Kong, Nashik, China

Dr. Alain Guilloux is a Honorary Research Associate in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. A former executive, member of the board and member of the international council of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), he researches humanitarian issues and governance, in particular in the Asian context.

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