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Interdisciplinary Centers in Latin American Universities: The Challenges of Institutionalization

  • Bianca Vienni BaptistaEmail author
  • Federico Vasen
  • Juan Carlos Villa Soto
Original Article

Abstract

Universities represent a particularly interesting environment for interdisciplinary development; as institutions, they are simultaneously guardians of tradition and spaces for experimentation. This article focuses on initiatives for the creation of institutional spaces for interdisciplinary research in three Latin American universities: Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, Universidad de la República in Uruguay and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. The article analyzes the processes of institutionalization of interdisciplinary centers. It compares (a) the context of creation, (b) the conception of interdisciplinarity, (c) the integration into preexisting structures and (d) internal organization and planning of the centers. Our analysis shows a diversity among institutionalization processes and supports the idea that there is no single model for the institutionalization of the interdisciplinary in the region. However, certain common characteristics can be found. These include a rigid bureaucratic structure and a paramount importance of creating consensus. These traits can be related to the legacy of the Córdoba Reform and the prevalence of a traditional institutional governance.

Keywords

interdisciplinarity Latin America university governance higher education 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors specially want to thank Jan Boll and Marcel Bursztyn for their comments on previous versions of this article and to Federico Brum for translating the manuscript. The authors also want to thank the Espacio Interdisciplinario (Universidad de la República, Uruguay), the Council for Scientific Research (CSIC, Universidad de la República, Uruguay), National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET, Argentina) and the Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México) for funding part of the research conducive to this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unidad Académica, Espacio InterdisciplinarioUniversidad de la República (Uruguay)MontevideoUruguay
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Educación (IICE), Facultad de Filosofía y LetrasUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Buenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y HumanidadesUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico

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