Loughborough University

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Ideational border crossings: if the intellectual relations don’t get you, then the social and political will

conference contribution
posted on 2015-04-13, 10:34 authored by John Evans
This paper explores the merits, possibilities and difficulties of making intra and trans-disciplinary ‘border crossings’ essentially of an ideational kind. Drawing ideas from complexity literature, the paper lauds the potential of ‘concept studies’ as means of making such crossings and addressing enduring issues (e.g., of equity and health) within education and Physical Education. It is argued that inherent, well-rehearsed, epistemological problems and challenges of inter and trans-disciplinarity are multiplied and exaggerated in a climate of austerity, especially where cultures of managerialism and neo-liberalism prevail. Such cultures pervade and define ‘good practice’ in Higher Education and wider research communities and determine distribution of resource. The paper also suggests that extant power relations and what Maton (2010) refers to as ‘knower structures’ may prohibit rather than nurture and encourage any willing exchange of ideas or sharing of resource, presaging border closure rather than ‘border crossing’. Talk of the latter in periods of austerity become shorthand for ‘rationalisation’ offering new language for a newly invigorated politics of erasure, rather than announcing desire to nurture and actualise new voices and new ways of sharing ideas toward investigating and dismantling enduring social hierarchies and trends.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in



EVANS, J., 2011. Ideational border crossings: if the intellectual relations don’t get you, then the social and political will. AARE International Research in Education Conference, 27th November - 1st December 2011, Hobart, Australia.


Routledge (© Taylor & Francis)


  • NA (Not Applicable or Unknown)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Publication date



This conference paper is closed access. It was subsequently developed as a journal article and published by Routledge (© Taylor & Francis) as: EVANS, J., 2014. Ideational border crossings: rethinking the politics of knowledge within and across disciplines. Discourse, 35 (1), pp.45-61.


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