Against Reciprocity: Dynamics of Power in Interdisciplinary Spaces

  • Felicity Callard
  • Des Fitzgerald
Open Access


All too often, ‘reciprocity’ emerges as the (imagined) organizing logic of interdisciplinary collaboration — with collaborators invited to forms of mutuality, fair exchange, and so on. In this chapter, we show what is missing from this analysis, which is any account of power. The chapter thus takes up an analysis of how power works in an interdisciplinary space — setting out, in particular, some of the different financial, epistemic, and cultural resources that belong to different disciplines. But if the chapter sets itself against one fantasy (fair exchange), it also wants to dispel another — and this is the fantasy of power confronted by the frankly-spoken truth. The chapter argues instead for what it might mean to think interdisciplinary collaboration as a practice of subjugation, which different collaborators may just have to learn to live with.


collaboration interdisciplinarity power subjugation trading zones 

Copyright information

© Felicity Callard and Des Fitzgerald 2015

Open Access Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felicity Callard
    • 1
  • Des Fitzgerald
    • 2
  1. 1.Durham UniversityUK
  2. 2.Cardiff UniversityUK

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