Main Article Content
goal of the present discourse analysis is to report on the initial results of a DFG project on communication in interdisciplinary projects. Based on a case study, the following questions were investigated: 1) at what times or phases of a project communication problems occur, 2) what kinds of problems occur as a result of knowledge asymmetries, and 3) which interactive and discourse roles do participants take on when facing such problems? Three main conclusions can be drawn from the findings; first, that linguistic-communicative problems occurring in interdisciplinary projects are not simply a result of attempts to find a “common language”, but are grounded in issues of contextual, methodological, organisitory, and socio-pragmatic agreements. Second, these communication problems arise during the initial, preparatory phases of a project, earlier than social scientific process models suggest, i. e. as early as the writing and submission of the project proposal, as opposed to when the project work actually begins. Third, that these problems, induced by the inevitable presence of knowledge asymmetries among participants, must be resolved not only through active and consistent meta-communication, but also through meta-meta-communication. Evidence for these findings was gathered by means of interviews with project participants in which they reflected on the phase of jointly writing their project proposal from the perspective of their respective disciplines.