Jerry A. Jacobs.
In Defense of Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity and Specialization in the Research University.
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Interdisciplinarity has become an increasingly powerful current in US universities and colleges. The virtues of promoting interaction among researchers from diverse fields and building bridges across academic units are taken for granted by many observers and university administrators. But the longer I investigated the matter, the more I became convinced that disciplines are an indispensable component of a dynamic university system. At the very least, any viable interdisciplinary arrangement will need to stand on a firm disciplinary foundation. A stronger version of the argument holds that interdisciplinary arrangements are much more specialized and transitional than most analysts have recognized.
Both occupations and organizations are the subject of the latest version of the American Sociological Review (ASR), the flagship journal of our parent organization the American Sociological Association (ASA). The issue includes “Professional Role Confidence and Gendered Persistence in Engineering” (Erin Cech, Brian Rubineau, Susan Sibley, and Caroll Seron), which introduces the concept of professional role confidence to help explain the persistence of gender barriers in STEM professions. They argue that women have on average lower levels of confidence in their ability to fulfill professional roles. They find that women’s relative lack of professional role confidence explains some of the attrition of women from STEM occupations.