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Thinking beyond disciplines: intellectuality, interdisciplinarity, and creativity in Pierre Bourdieu and Umberto Eco

Caroni, SB; (2013) Thinking beyond disciplines: intellectuality, interdisciplinarity, and creativity in Pierre Bourdieu and Umberto Eco. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

At the end of the twentieth century, Pierre Bourdieu and Umberto Eco were two of the most prominent intellectuals in France and Italy. Yet, in spite of the fact that France and Italy are neighbouring countries and have been, historically, exercising an on-going cultural influence upon each other, there is no systematic comparative study of these two intellectuals. This study responds to this absence by offering, within the framework of an interdisciplinary project, a thorough analysis of some of the key themes of the thought of Bourdieu and Eco. By addressing how Bourdieu’s and Eco’s work contributes to a better understanding of the creative and the interdisciplinary nature of intellectuality, this study explores the following hypothesis: those scholars who become known to the general public as public intellectuals are often interested in exploring and in testing the limits of disciplinary fields. In so doing, they challenge the norms that define academic professionalism and the growing specialisation of knowledge in academia. By highlighting the differences, as well as the similarities in the approaches of Bourdieu and Eco, this study shows that critical engagement is defined by the very disciplinary boundaries and structures it attempts to challenge and question. This study demonstrates that interdisciplinarity does neither exclude nor render obsolete existing disciplines. On the contrary, solid grounding in one discipline facilitates the production of interdisciplinary knowledge. As the examples of Bourdieu and Eco show, disciplines can be transcended only once they are fully mastered. Once fully mastered they appear in their contingency, not as absolute statements but rather as vehicles towards knowledge.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Thinking beyond disciplines: intellectuality, interdisciplinarity, and creativity in Pierre Bourdieu and Umberto Eco
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1393288
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