Philippe Vandenbroeck

May 30, 2021

4 min read

I’m a postdisciplinary researcher

What does it mean? Why would I do so?

Photo by Martin Lopez from Pexels
  • Postdisciplinary research is research that is becoming ‘search’ again. It is open-ended, not guided by pre-defined goals. The research follows an inner logic, moulded by the researchers personal intensions, evolving insights, confrontation with real-world frictions, access to progressively expanding resources, and all kinds of contingencies and surprises. This logic can manifest itself as circuitous, abductive and non-linear, in contrast to the incrementalism of rigidly disciplinary approaches.
  • Postdisciplinary research is research that is becoming ‘me-search’ again. It seeks to invest the research process with existential density, in other words, the researcher is deeply invested at the personal level and seeks to encounter her/himself through research and as maker of knowledge. This deep personal commitment needs to be complemented and balanced by a serious effort to deepen reflexivity through first-person, second-person and third-person inquiry.
  • Given the above, it is no surprise that a postdisciplinary approach is methodologically and epistemologically flexible. This is predicated on the recognition 1) that there are different ways in which we meaningfully make sense of our worlds, and 2) that it is problematic to reduce human experience to a set of generalisable facts. It moves away “from a notion of choosing a research method to engaging with and shaping a research process.” (Gail Simon).