Sammandrag av seminariet

A general scenario
An academic discipline is shaped by its questions. Questions spring out of needs. Many needs are practical in origin and lead to applications of various kinds. Applications presuppose knowledge. Where there is a lack of knowledge, there are fundamental questions that need answers. The answers to these basic questions are facts and principles often to be sought, or discovered, (far) beyond the discipline’s traditional borders.

The problem
So broad issues create a research agenda requiring a trans-disciplinary approach. The international research community addresses these demands with varying success. Academic systems have a built-in inertia making them resistant to change. Cross-talk between disciplines faces a steep uphill climb. The roots of the inertia are deeply embedded in history. They are linked to how we, teachers and researchers, unwittingly tend to adapt to the survival niches offered us by higher education and university administration.

Consequences for phonetics
Phonetics is a prime example of a subject matter that exhibits a powerful dynamics of urgent and seminal research issues. It is an area whose applications and basic research questions straddle many disciplinary boundaries. From this position it derives much of its strength and topicality.

However, this is only true ”in principle”, since the dynamics is dampened by the fact that educational curricula and administrative organization are not in step with intellectual development.

If this is so, what can be done? Let us meet to examine phonetics from the perspective sketched above and to see if we can second-guess what the future may bring.