Affect and Effect in Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration

  • Line Hillersdal University of Copenhagen
  • Astrid Pernille Jespersen
  • Bjarke Oxlund
  • Birgitte Bruun


Research across disciplines is often described as beset with problems of epistemological hierarchies and incommensurable categories. We recognize these problems working in two large interdisciplinary research projects on obesity and cholesterol lowering medicine in Denmark. We explore the affective tensions that arise in concrete situations when we meet other researchers around a shared research object. We propose that sensitivity towards such differences, and exploration of the affects they foster, can generate new epistemological and political openings. Analysing four interdisciplinary situations we suggest that embodied experiences of amusement, awkwardness, boredom and doubts are signposts of both differences and connections between people and concerns. Inspired by Haraway’s notion of “response-ability” (1997) and Verran’s concept of “generative critique” (2001) we propose that attention to affective tensions in interdisciplinary research collaboration can be generative of effects not only on modes of collaboration, but also on the ways we engage the world as researchers.


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Author Biographies

Line Hillersdal, University of Copenhagen

SAXO Institute,
University of Copenhagen
Karen Blixens Plads 8,
DK - 2300 Copenhagen S

Astrid Pernille Jespersen

SAXO Institute,
University of Copenhagen
Karen Blixens Plads 8,
DK - 2300 Copenhagen S

Bjarke Oxlund

Department of Anthropology

University of Copenhagen

Oester Farimagsgade 5

DK - 1353 Copenhagen K

Birgitte Bruun

Department of Anthropology

University of Copenhagen

Oester Farimagsgade 5

DK - 1353 Copenhagen K


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