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The Wrong Type of Pluralism: Toward a Transdisciplinary Social Science

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  • David Colander

Abstract

When heterodox economists talk of pluralism they are generally talking about pluralism within the economics profession-they are asking: how can we have a more pluralistic economics profession? This paper argues that another, perhaps more useful, way to think of pluralism and economics is from the perspective of all the social sciences. When considered in reference to the social science profession rather than in reference to the economics profession, the amount of pluralism increases significantly, since different social sciences follow quite different methodologies. But looking at pluralism from the social science perspective reveals a different type of pluralism problem in social science. While there may be plenty of pluralism within social science as a whole, there is a serious question about whether it is appropriately distributed. This paper argues that heterodox economists' agenda should be a greater blending of all the social science departments. It summarizes proposals to do so on both the undergraduate level and graduate level, and explains why supporting variations of these proposals would be a strategy that would further the objectives of most heterodox economists more than would their current strategy of pushing for more pluralism in economics.

Suggested Citation

  • David Colander, 2014. "The Wrong Type of Pluralism: Toward a Transdisciplinary Social Science," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 516-525, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:26:y:2014:i:4:p:516-525
    DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2014.950460
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/09538259.2014.950460
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    Cited by:

    1. Cedrini, Mario & Fontana, Magda, 2015. "Mainstreaming. Reflections on the Origins and Fate of Mainstream Pluralism," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201510, University of Turin.
    2. Cedrini, Mario & Magda, Fontana, 2017. "Just Another Niche in the Wall? How Specialization Is Changing the Face of Mainstream Economics," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201706, University of Turin.

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