I have on occasion felt precisely the way described in this blog entry. Recently, I’ve been getting a bit of “so you’re more of a social scientist” or “well, you really specialize in the social aspects” of conservation and food policy. Which is not wholly (or perhaps even mostly) incorrect, but from my point of view, it’s similar to the experience of the geoscientist/physiologist in the linked post on Ronin by Viviane Callier.
Of course, in that case, the person in question is trained as a geoscientist but does “geoscientific” work fundamentally intertwined with physiology, and is applying to a physiology department. I’m trained as an ecologist, and do ecological work that fundamentally intertwines with social policy.) I’ve been happy at WSU thus far, but I do feel like many colleagues don’t know quite how to “place” me. Personally, I don’t consider myself a natural OR social scientist, but more of a natural AND social scientist. (I like the term political ecologist, though as Paul Robbins alludes in his excellent Political Ecology text, political ecology has heretofore arguably been dominated by social scientists and more classically transdisciplinary fields like geography and anthropology. I also identify with Buttel’s classification of agroecology into five varieties, my own mentors being dominantly from what he calls “ecological political economy”, although my postdoctoral advisor was specifically, and appropriately, classified as an “agro-population ecologist”. But I digress.