Steven Hrotic [+]
Academic disciplines are commonsensically defined as a ‘data set’ – a subset of the facts, theories, and methods that constitute academic knowledge. However, this view cannot alone account for the boundaries between disciplines, nor disciplines’ characters. Hrotic suggests that disciplines are quasi-social networks. Interactions within academic alliances result in discipline-specific cultural schema, which are used to identify ‘social’ group members. This plays a beneficial functional role by organizing academia into coherent ‘clans’. Disciplines are not imposed by academic leadership, but are an emergent property of academia as a self-organizing system. The Religion department at the University of Vermont is presented as an example.