Michaela Louise Coote
Interdisciplinary research is a popular methodological choice for informing environmental decision-shaping; however its use needs further critical evaluation to ensure that it is able to meet grand environmental challenges and societal needs. This research provides a historical and conceptual analysis of interdisciplinary environmental decision-shaping in an Arctic context. The primary methodology for the study was interviewers with experts who have been engaged with interdisciplinary environmental decision-shaping in the Arctic to answer the research questions: 1) does interdisciplinarity involve the softening of boundaries in the Arctic; 2) does interdisciplinarity promote the diffusion of ideas in the Arctic and 3) does Interdisciplinarity support scientific enquiry in the Arctic? The objective of this research was to further academic inquiry regarding the use of interdisciplinary research in Arctic environmental decision-shaping. Whilst interdisciplinary research in the Arctic was found to encompass a spirit of reinvention, critical thinking and open-mindedness; its use was found to be impacted by geopolitical factors, past and present practices, epistemologies and ontologies including power hierarchies and colonialism. Epistemological differences between actors was seen as a strength in Arctic interdisciplinary studies but required the practitioners to be respectful and willing to reevaluate their knowledge and approach.