Cultural Traits and Multidisciplinary Dialogue
Every discipline poses its research questions in specific ways and thus uses concepts that are suited to find answers in its well defined disciplinary frameworks. Accordingly, the idea of cultural trait has been used and developed in several disciplines, often without any reference to each other. The result has often been non-communicability across different fields. We first show, by means of two examples, that the lack of deep interdisciplinary dialogue and reciprocal understanding has generated some harsh controversies. We argue that our book Understanding Cultural Traits: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity tries to overcome not only the gap between cultural traits specialists and other scientists, but also the barriers among the researchers who are not specialists on cultural traits but that nevertheless directly or indirectly use cultural traits in their different disciplines.
KeywordsTrait Culture sciences Interdisciplinarity Dialogue Cultural evolution
Our first thank goes to Luca Stanca, Director, CISEPS Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology, and Social Sciences at the University of Milano - Bicocca, Italy, whose support was so precious during these years. Thanks to his true engagement in interdisciplinarity, we had the necessary support to go along with this project. We also want to thank CISEPS for financial support, along with “Riccardo Massa” Department of Human Sciences at the same university.
Then, we would like to thank Luigino Bruni and Telmo Pievani, who had, more that 5 years ago, the first intuition of letting people from different disciplines meet in the University of Milano - Bicocca, sharing the interest in evolutionary studies. We took up their heritage by promoting a new wave of seminars, more focused on the concept of cultural traits, from which this book was born.
It was possible to realize this book thanks to all participants to the seminars we held. We thus want to thank all presenters and, especially, those who then agreed to become authors of this book. We want to highlight the fact that this is really a collective work, in which authors did not simply agree to write chapters assigned by the editors; on the contrary, almost all authors participated in the book creation process, constituting a research group, reviewing each others’ work, and stimulating interdisciplinary debate.
We also took advantage of cooperation with AppEEL – Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, University of Lisbon, in particular with its greatly interdisciplinary research and dissemination project “Implementing the Extended Synthesis in Evolutionary Biology into the Sociocultural Domain” funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Fabrizio Panebianco kindly aknowledges the financial support of the ERC project TECTACOM – 324004. Emanuele Serrelli kindly acknowledges support from the John Templeton Foundation in the framework of the 2012/2013 project “Implementing the Extended Synthesis in Evolutionary Biology into the Sociocultural Domain” carried out at the Lisbon Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab (grant ID 36288).
At last, if this book appears as it is, this is greatly due to Springer’s referees and staff, and to the precious external referees from the many disciplines involved, who donated their time to ensure the scientific correctness of this book. On top of the overall referee process, they acted as an additional stimulus during the book construction process.
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