Kenneth Prewitt, former SSRC president, traces the history of the debates on the accountability of American social science to those who fund and use it. As demands for accountability are currently on the rise, and as expectations for its demonstration grow, Prewitt outlines key dimensions of a strategy for maintaining the autonomy of social science research and using the insights of social science to better understand its own impact.
Robert O. Keohane
Robert O. Keohane is Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University. He is the author of After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton University Press, 1984/2005) and Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World (Psychology Press, 2002). He is coauthor of Power and Interdependence (with Joseph S. Nye, Jr; Pearson, 1977/2012), and of Designing Social Inquiry (with Gary King and Sidney Verba; Princeton University Press, 1994). He has served as the editor of International Organization and as president of the International Studies Association and the American Political Science Association. He won the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order, 1989, and the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science, 2005. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences; he is a Corresponding Member of the British Academy. His most recent papers (coauthored with different partners) include “Contested Multilateralism” (Review of International Organizations, December 2014); “Anti-Americanism and Anti-Interventionism in Arabic Twitter Discourses” (Perspectives on Politics, March 2015), and “Organizational Ecology and Institutional Change in Global Governance” (International Organization, Spring 2016).
When scholars collaborate across disciplines, what shapes their perceptions of that experience? Drawing from their recent research on a range of interdisciplinary networks, Lamont, Boix-Mansilla and Sato find that cognitive and intellectual payoffs tell only part of the story. Emotional and social dimensions to collaboration intertwine with the cognitive in complex ways, while the research environment established by funders creates a frame within which participants experience a sense of achievement across disciplinary divides.
In this brief 1986 essay from the Items archive, David L. Sills, SSRC (and Items) editor from 1973 to 1989, examines the Council’s historical role as a source of the term “interdisciplinary.” Digging into Council records and correspondence, he finds much evidence of debates on interdisciplinarity as a concept, but not (yet) the term itself.
Colleagues from the SSRC’s Measure of America program discuss how research on human well-being can shape policies to enhance it. Using the program’s in-depth research in Sonoma County, California, as a case study, the authors show how their findings of surprising disparities can effect change through local partnerships and strategies to communicate results in ways that resonate with a wide range of community members.