This commentary on the article “On the centrality of peripheral research and the dangers of tight boundary gatekeeping” is a personal reflection developed around four considerations. (1) Boundaries are defined according to the center we position ourselves in, which implies that multiple centers and boundaries are possible. (2) Although tension between multiple centers is typical across disciplines in their endeavor to create disciplinary identity, their existence is related to paradigmatic divides. (3) Problems related to excessive gatekeeping arise to protect the reputation of the dominant center. (4) The complexity of today’s societal and environmental challenges calls for an interdisciplinary approach. My concluding remarks develop the idea that, if bridges cannot be built across paradigmatic divides, tensions can be harnessed productively by nurturing academic empathy. Academic empathy, I argue, becomes key for the way in which we – as individual scholars – face today’s greatest challenges that are, in their nature, interdisciplinary and require us to rethink boundaries.
- AF Accountability Sustainability and Governance
- Research diversity
- Dominant paradigm
- Academic empathy
- Interdisciplinary research