Interdisciplinarity in transition knowledge production: Micro-level analysis of a scenario building process

Anna Leinonen, Corinna Casi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsScientific


It is common to emphasise the role of interdisciplinarity in the search for solutions and analysis of sustainability transitions. Interdisciplinarity is connected to the need for analysing complex and wicked problems and developing sustainable long-term solutions for them. On the other hand, interdisciplinarity pose a challenge for knowledge creation and the effectivity of knowledge creation processes may decline. To understand the dynamics and limitations of interdisciplinary knowledge production, it is necessary to conduct micro-level analyses of interdisciplinary knowledge creation processes.
This paper examines a process of future oriented knowledge creation in a multidisciplinary research project aiming at fostering transitional change of plastics production system. The case project (ValueBioMat) is financed by the Strategic Research Council. We use the case study as an illustrative case for arguing the practical challenges of interdisciplinarity, especially the inclusion of ethics in future-oriented knowledge creation applying a formal scenario method.
Through the reflexive and process-oriented micro-level analysis of the case process, we show how ethically important factor (social justice) was first included in a scenario model in the beginning of scenario process in an open project workshop, but later in the process it was excluded from the model by the dedicated working group of researchers. The appearance and disappearance of an ethically important factor in scenario-making was an outcome of the combined effect of social and methodological aspects, including communication and meaning making in the social process of scenario construction, and methodological limitations in combining ethics and formal scenario method. Through the analysis, we can understand better the dynamics of interdisciplinary knowledge production and propose improved approaches to include ethics in future-oriented knowledge creation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrategic Research - Scientific Conference: A fair, just and sustainable society
Subtitle of host publicationSummary of abstracts
PublisherSuomen akatemia
Publication statusPublished - 2022
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventStrategic Research - Scientific Conference: A fair, just and sustainable society - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 12 Oct 202213 Oct 2022


ConferenceStrategic Research - Scientific Conference
Internet address


  • sustainability transitions
  • interdisciplinarity
  • knowledge creation
  • reflexive analysis


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