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The real type and ideal type of transdisciplinary processes: Part I-theoretical foundations

: Scholz, R.W.; Steiner, G.


Sustainability Science 10 (2015), No.4, pp.527-544
ISSN: 1862-4065
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IGB ()

Transdisciplinarity integrates or relates different epistemics from science and practice (Mode 2 transdisciplinarity) or from branches of disciplines if interdisciplinary integration is impossible (Mode 1 transdisciplinarity). The paper explains, based on an analysis of the historical development of the Mode 2 transdisciplinarity concept, how transdisciplinary processes link interdisciplinary applied research and multi-stakeholder discourses by facilitating methods. We elaborate on what type of problems may be managed using what knowledge, how this might be accomplished, what types of objectives are desired, and by what organizational means. Thus the paper presents ontology, epistemology, methodology, functionality, and organization of an ideal type of transdisciplinary process. Socially robust orientations are the expected outcomes of this process. These orientations provide science-based, state-of-the-art, socially accepted options of solutions which acknowledge uncertainties and the incompleteness of different forms of epistemics (i.e., of knowing or thought), in particular within the sustainable transitioning of complex real-world problems.