Accepted Paper:

At the edge of disciplinary minds: meta-cognition and inter-disciplinary collaboration in a German university  
Lianghao Dai (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

Paper short abstract:

Based on a long-term fieldwork with biologists, statisticians, and physicists in a German university, this paper opens the'black box'of cognitive mechanics and explores how researchers negotiate different cultures of cognition collectively in interdisciplinary collaborative projects.

Paper long abstract:

Against the 'post-truth' crisis in academic knowledge production, disciplinary expertise is no longer taken merely as professional scholarship and crafts, but as part of a specific disciplinary culture in which the way of how to think, and how to organise and present one's thought is trained. Inter-disciplinary collaboration, in this regard, puts a great challenge to academic researchers, as the collaboration, by nature, invites researchers to reflect on the boundary of their disciplinary cognition and to think beyond. This paper, based on a long-term fieldwork with biologists, statisticians, and physicists in a German university, intends to open the'black box'of cognitive mechanics in the process of interdisciplinary knowledge production and explores how researchers trained in sciences go beyond their disciplinary boundaries and negotiate different cultures of cognition collectively in interdisciplinary collaborative projects. By conducting participant observation in the laboratories and semi-structured interviews, and deploying cognitive mapping method, it is found that interdisciplinary collaboration is realised neither by establishing a dominating collaboration norm nor by a mechanical splice of segmented knowledge sets. Rather, cross-disciplinary cognitive negotiation takes place between advanced researchers, between junior researchers and between the advanced and the junior from the same discipline, and with different cognitive interactive modes, i.e., networking, zip-processing and knowledge plantation. Such a stratified and dynamical cognitive interaction, this paper argues, provides an excellent example about disciplinary expertise as a sort of meta-cogitation in a comparative perspective, and help to shed light on the nature of disciplines and cognitive practice of knowledge production.

Panel Cog03
Cultures of metacognition