Interdisciplinarity and Knowledge Networking: Co-Production of Climate Authoritative Knowledge in Southern South America

Published in Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies (34), pp. 183-199 

Hidalgo, C.

Publication year 2016
DOI n/a

Instituto de Ciencias Antropológicas Universidad de Buenos Aires


IAI Program



IAI Project CRN30235


Interdisciplinarity and knowledge networking are at the core of current global, regional, and national initiatives concerning climate. Both scientific knowledge and public participation are essential to enhance the capacity of different sectors and governments to respond to challenges posed by climate variability and change. Exchange and bridge building among disciplinary domains are needed as well as involvement of governmental agents and a variety of stakeholders in knowledge networks and quality assurance processes, with the aim of producing authoritative, relevant, and usable knowledge. This article presents initial results of ongoing research on a recently launched Regional Climate Center for Southern South America (RCC-SSA) that is distinguished by close partnership and continuous interaction. The dynamics of cooperation in this innovative interdisciplinary, interinstitutional, and trans-sector network are being ethnographically documented and their epistemic and political features analyzed. Echoing the World Meteorological Organization, combining perspectives of the meteorological community with diverse interests, expectations, and needs of the many relevant &ldquousers&rdquo is a core challenge for climate services in the region. Because of the broad diversity of decisions and decision makers, multiple networks of organizations or actors seek involvement of the best available physical, biological, social science, and stakeholder knowledge. They ask not just for predictions but for &ldquotranslation&rdquo of climate information into outcomes of adaptation/mitigation actions. Current collaboration efforts offer lessons on how to understand and conceptualize new trends in research and political practices, with scientists of all backgrounds participating in deliberations involving technical claims and decision making. These lessons underscore the complexity and multilayered nature of diffculties and obstacles involved in co-production of knowledge.