European Journal of Social Theory 23 (3):328-349 (2020)

The intellectual trajectories of social scientists Robert N. Bellah and Clifford Geertz are compared as a case study in the production of successful interdisciplinary work. Geertz and Bellah started from a similar position, in terms of scholarly habits, network centrality, and symbolic capital. However, while Geertz became an interdisciplinary star and left his mark in disciplines as diverse as history, sociology, and cultural studies, Bellah’s interdisciplinary appeal was more limited, while his ability to speak to the general public as a public intellectual was unmatched by Geertz. We thus review Bellah’s and Geertz’s parallel careers using a multidimensional analytical model intended to complete current field-based and performative-pragmatist models of intellectual success, arguing that interdisciplinary success can be accounted for by a combination of local ecological factors, images of intellectual work, and texts showing a high degree of cross-disciplinary fluency.
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DOI 10.1177/1368431018823140
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Science of Science and Reflexivity.Pierre Bourdieu - 2004 - University of Chicago Press.
The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity.Robert Frodeman (ed.) - 2010 - Oxford University Press.

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