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Douglas H. Bowles [*]
It is clear that at least one primary thrust of Socio-Economics is the incorporation of a more robust theory of value into a relatively more interdisciplinary social science. This is evident from even a cursory reading of Etzioni's seminal work.  There we find a broadly sustained critique of the classic liberal model of the rational, hedonistic, self-interested individual as the organizing principle of social order. An interdisciplinary "socio-economic" alternative to this classical organizing algorithm is presented as an approach to the development of a social science that can make a useful contribution to the solution of otherwise intractable social problems, for many of which problems it may be argued that a dogmatic, ideological adherence to the classical model can actually be diagnosed as a contributing cause.
Criticism of the classical model, of course, did not begin with Etzioni's publication of The Moral Dimension in 1988; arguably, it began with Marx. Etzioni, however, also presents Socio-Economics as an alternative to a Marxian model of political economy (see Etzioni, 1988, p. 15).
Nor has criticism of the classical model during the age of capitalism been limited to that of the Marxians. Another, which offers at least as much scope and credibility as the Marxia critique, is that of the American Institutionalist School, the origins of which are to be found in the heterodox economics of Thorstein Veblen.
Interestingly, a significant cadre of Institutionalist scholars has been involved with the Socio-Economic program from its inception. Furthermore, the participation of Erik Olin Wright (a notable neo-Marxian scholar) in a featured role at Vienna (and the hosting of the 1999 conference by his home institution--the University of Wisconsin at Madison) suggest the possibility of a more sustained dialogue among Socio-Economic, Institutionalist, and Marxian scholars. Such a sustained development could not help but benefit the program of heterodoxy in social theory.
Led by a distinguished series of Institutionalist scholars, The University of Missouri Kansas City has for many years offered a program of graduate and undergraduate study with a strong commitment to the program of heterodox political economy. The establishment in 1991 of an innovative interdisciplinary doctoral program provided the impetus in the College of Arts & Sciences for the emergence of the Social Science Consortium, an even more innovative program of doctoral study, development, and research in the field of interdisciplinary social science. The long-standing commitment to heterodox political economy by the College's Department of Economics has been carried forward with its instrumental role in the development of the Social Science Consortium in collaboration with the Departments of Sociology and Political Science, and has manifested itself in an equally strong commitment to a program of heterodoxy in interdisciplinary social theory and research.
In 1996 and 1997, Professor Jim Sturgeon of UMKC (now the first official director of the Social Science Consortium) led a small group of faculty and graduate students, primarily economists, to the 8th and 9th Socio-Economics meetings in Geneva and Montreal, where we presented complete, single panel sessions. Our simultaneous involvement with the Socio-Economics project and the emerging Social Science Consortium at UMKC led us to a natural consideration of the role of Socio-Economics in a program of heterodox social theory and research. It was in Montreal that we determined to return to Kansas City with the proposal that the Consortium organize, for the next summer's meetings, what became the Vienna Project: a day-long symposium on the Consortium's innovative, comparative approach to heterodox interdisciplinary social theory. This article provides a summary report on the results of that project, presented at last summer's 10th annual Socio-Economics meeting in Vienna.
The symposium was composed of four sessions:
An introductory session that included presentations on:
1. A survey of the field of interdisciplinary social science
2. A brief history of the UMKC interdisciplinary PhD program and the emergence of the Social Science Consortium
3. The philosophical (or meta-theoretical) foundations of interdisciplinary social science, as developed in the Consortium's program
4. The global social theory framework of analysis that had been developed in the Consortium's program for the comparative analysis and evaluation of heterodox theory
A comparative analysis and evaluation of four candidates for relatively adequate global social theory:
Sessions III and IV included presentations developed around the research projects of individual Consortium faculty and students from a wide variety of specialized social science disciplines, but subject to the requirement that their linkages within the global theory framework must be explicitly developed. These sessions were conceived as pilot projects in the development of relatively more adequate global theory.
What follows here are summarily abridged versions of the individual presentations in Sessions I and II, followed by an overall summary of Sessions III and IV. Although copyright considerations preclude us from publishing the formal papers on the web, you may request copies of working papers from each individual author. Email links can be found on the Consortium's web site: http://cei.umkc.edu/ssc. A detailed listing of the entire program is appended to this article, including session titles, paper titles, and author's names.
2. Session I: surveying the field of interdisciplinary social science
One may justifiably question the pivotal presence given by our program to the role of "interdisciplinarity." After all, whereas often invoked, the meaning of the term has suffered from a marked lack of specificity. The only truly common sense of the word seems to be "that which is not strictly disciplinary." For some social scientists, such a notion is profoundly liberating. For others, its enunciation amounts to a de-legitimizing smear. In between these two camps--indeed, there is an elemental struggle here over the nature of knowledge and scholarly inquiry--are the many "undisciplined" applications of the term within academe, often used as an apparent marketing ploy in much the same manner that Madison Avenue would acclaim the "new and improved" quality of some product. Thus, by meaning virtually anything for anybody, the "interdisciplinary" appellation has meant nothing in particular.
SASE itself proclaims to be an "interdisciplinary association" seeking to discover a "new socio-economic synthesis that makes economics and the other social sciences more practically and theoretically relevant."  Academic social scientists have often posited a critical role for interdisciplinary analysis and research. Such confidence seems to be based upon the conviction that our more pressing social problems refuse to be contained within the boundaries of any one discipline and that their resolution will demand the collaborative efforts of scholars from diverse fields seeking to discover integrative forms of knowledge production.
We are presented with two primary challenges. One, how will we know interdisciplinary research and collaboration when we see it? And two, how can we arrange for new interdisciplinary forms of scholarship to receive consistent, hard-money support when funding for higher education is contracting? The key focus of this article concerns the first point, the substantive content of interdisciplinarity.
Then second point concerning institutional impediments and disincentives, although equally problematic for the production of interdisciplinary knowledge, will only be summarized. Overall, the primary engine of knowledge production in western society, the Research University, has a well-known, profoundly conservative structure. This has tended to provide a safe haven for the historically fragile principle of academic freedom. Yet, when it comes to fostering programmatic innovations that cut across or fall between departmental boundaries, the barriers to sustained, long-term innovation are, in most cases, nearly insurmountable. Entrenched lines of authority, fixed positions for academic appointment, and rigid avenues of funding rarely allow themselves to be carved up in service to new, nondisciplinary, academic projects. Established policies for faculty advancement, merit increases, release time, and so forth, do not encourage innovations outside the disciplinary 'box.' The prospects for the survival of progra mmatic interdisciplinary innovations within the standard university environment are almost never promising. Certainly, that has been the record to date.
Regarding the substantive goal of attaining "synthetic, integrative knowledge," what does this purportedly worthy objective actually mean? How are we to achieve such an outcome? If we were only to be concerned with disciplinary "boundary crossing," could the collaboration between a rational-choice economist and a cultural ethnomethodologist actually culminate in "synthesis?" What would be the nature of their collaborative prescriptions for public policy? If a jointly produced outcome were to result, it would probably take an "additive," not integrative, form. Perhaps we should begin our effort with an attempt to provide some accountability, some "discipline," to the notion of interdisciplinarity.
Given the decidedly undecidable state of interdisciplinarity's current conceptual condition, how should those scholars who aspire to develop a systematic interdisciplinary critique of the social sciences proceed? Whereas natural scientists embrace the regulatory order of a hegemonic positivist paradigm--despite energetic finger pointing by sociology-of-knowledge analysts--social scientists enjoy no similarly compelling paradigmatic consensus.
Thus, notwithstanding the proliferation of new journals over the past two decades, the social sciences suffer from the continuing inability to achieve an accumulation of knowledge production. This debilitating state of affairs within the theoretical realm of the social has generated a now chronic lament regarding the "crisis in theory." Recalling the closing of the sociology department at Washington University and noting the difficult conflicts required since 1990 to retain sociology at San Diego and Yale, Jerald Hage (1994) states that "the fact still remains that in many universities serious doubts about the utility of sociology endure."  Indeed, some sociologists are essentially fatalistic about the prospects for their discipline:
My tale is a sad one, and it troubles me to be the bearer of such depressing news, because I think that it leads to a most unpleasant conclusion: sociology will never be theoretically unified, either by method or substance, and as a result, it will never be considered very important within or outside academia. 
Certainly these comments do not comprise a comprehensive appraisal of the potential contribution offered by sociological scholarship. Yet, it is very troubling that, although the individual social science disciplines are already struggling to demonstrate their relevance for modern domestic problem solving, the even more complex issues related to globalization loom ever more ominously over us. We need to develop a formalized sense of what interdisciplinarity is about and of how to conceptualize what is meant by the term "synthesis" of knowledge.
This is the project that the Social Science Consortium has undertaken within the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at the University of Missouri/Kansas City. We are attempting to establish the substantive content by which we can "know" interdisciplinarity. It is our conviction that, by definition, scholars from different paradigmatic orientations (assuming they understand within which paradigm they operate, and that their theorizing and methodological strategies are paradigmatically consistent) cannot collaborate to produce a "synthesis" of knowledge.
To conduct a systematic analysis at the paradigmatic level, we focus upon the realm of meta-theory. That is, we attempt to critique the meta-theoretical assumptions--the ontological and epistemological components--of a given theorist, hypothesis, theory, methodology, public policy. It is only through such a sustained meta-theoretical examination of each level in the structure of scientific practice  that the conditions can be created for achieving the anticipated benefits from the synthesis of knowledge.
A key question will still remain. Even if we have scholars from each of the social sciences working together, and even if each of them is fully informed and consistently working within the same paradigm, what will be the ultimate social value of their synthesized knowledge if the operant paradigm is positivist? Or hermeneutic?
We still have to go to the next level of analysis. We must subject the implications of their paradigmatic assumptions to a critique based upon the real-world components of the aggregate human reality of "the social." Thus, having established the meta-theoretical grounds for evaluating "interdisciplinary" research and knowledge synthesis, we must now submit the adequacy of our concepts to the criteria for a global social theory.
3. Session I: the meta-theoretical foundations of interdisciplinary social science
The complexity of the argument entailed in this topic renders it unsuitable for summary treatment. References in other presentations to the material covered here are provided with explanatory notes, as necessary. For those interested in the detailed presentation of this material, please see Dr. Ardebili' s forthcoming article. Updated publication details will be posted on the Consortium's website: http://cei.umkc.edu/ssc.
4. Session I: global social theory
4.1. Meta-theoretical foundations
Meta-theoretical analysis entails the use of certain fundamental philosophical categories to identify the foundational commitments of knowledge systems. Using this approach  we are able to:
1. Specify the ontological, epistemological, and axiological elements of meta-theoretical analysis. 
2. Give rigorous definition to the meta-theoretical construct of a paradigm. 
3. Identify three distinct historically emergent paradigms within which the production of scientific knowledge has advanced: positivism, relativism,  and realism.
4. Within the global theory analytical framework, require paradigmatic specification as the foundational element of global theory.
Given a paradigmatic specification, Table 1 offers a summary presentation of global theory components (Column 1) and their relationship to the other conceptual frameworks represented in Columns 2, 3, and 4. A more detailed specification of the components of global theory will follow a brief discussion of the relationships among the columns of Table 1.
The disciplinary character (Column 2) attached to individual components of global theory (Column 1) is of course a pedagogical simplification. It is intended only to suggest what disciplinary fields are presently primarily responsible for the study of the associated global theory component under the regime of disciplinary division of labor that currently prevails in the academy. It is in no way intended to suggest that there are not presently aspects of many other disciplines that significantly impinge on our understanding of those components, nor is it intended to prescribe a limitation on the interdisciplinary development of the global theory components detailed in Column 1 to the disciplinary fields attached to them in Column 2.
Also presented, in Columns 3 and 4, is the relationship between relatively adequate, heterodox global theory as interdisciplinary knowledge (Column 3) and ideology (Column 4). The relationship suggested could be described as one of congruent scope, and warrants enough elaboration here so that its significance in the development and utility of the global theory framework can be properly understood and appreciated.
We identify a relatively adequate global theory (Column 3) as one that entails the theoretical treatment of the global theory components identified in Column 1, thus exhibiting sufficient interdisciplinary scope (as detailed in Column 2). Now, note the presence of the development component in the bottom cell of Column 1. This component represents a theoretical specification of material and social development goals. A relatively adequate global theory is not necessarily required to specify such goals; instead (for example), it may advance from within the positivist meta-theoretical paradigm, where it is claimed that no such specification (based on a commitment to the duality of fact and value) is possible.  The significant point to be established here is that within the global theory framework, which entails a heterodoxy of paradigmatic formulations, the theoretical specification of material and social development goals is conceptually possible. It would remain, of course, for any specific global theory c andidate to justify its own internal specification of development goals--a project that could not, incidentally, be successfully undertaken from within the positivist paradigm.
The relationship between knowledge (whether formulated as disciplinary or interdisciplinary) and ideology is one of distinction. We distinguish between knowledge, which on the one hand can be characterized as propositions to which we give warranted belief in reasonable proportion to evidence presented in their support according to credible rules; on the other hand we can characterize ideology as propositions to which we grant a dogmatic, unreasonable, disproportionate belief, not warranted by the presentation of evidence according to any credible rule.  Such a distinction is a recognizable function of the generic program of science.
In addition to being in principle distinguishable from knowledge by its lack of credible belief criteria, ideology can (and must) be distinguished from positivist knowledge by an incongruency of scope. That is, ideology, by virtue of its lack of any credible belief criteria, is free to assert propositions of value at will, permitting the assertion of material and social development goals, assertions that are ruled out of bounds by positivist belief criteria rooted in the fact/value duality. This incongruency of scope between ideology and positivist knowledge is not sustained within the context of global theory, which allows for the possibility, from within alternative paradigmatic formulations not committed to an irreconcilable ontological duality of fact and value, of warranted assertions of value according to credible rules of evidence. Thus, although retaining the essential distinction for knowledge from ideology that is conferred by the requirement of credible …